Are You Ready for Your Performance Review?
By Jack Rosenberger
Here’s a bold idea: Ask everyone in IT to give a performance review of the IT department—and publish the reviews on your organization’s intranet for everyone to read. Of course, if you want a more comprehensive, unvarnished appraisal of the IT department, ask all of the employees in your organization for a performance review of IT. You might be surprised by what you learn.
It is standard for employees at many organizations to receive annual reviews; Google, on the other hand, values employee reviews so highly that it conducts them on a quarterly basis. However, it’s rare for employees to review the performance of departments and organizations. Why is this?
If it’s beneficial for an employee to receive a performance review, wouldn’t it also be beneficial for a department or an organization to receive a performance review?
My proposal faces several formidable obstacles. One, few executives appear to possess the courage to have their department and, by extension, themselves be evaluated by the people who report to them. After all, you are opening yourself up to possible criticism. A second obstacle is the ability to change and try something new. As computer scientist Alan Kay said, “Everyone loves change, except for the change part. People usually retreat to the things they are familiar with.”
Of course, a CIO who implements an employee-based performance review of their IT department will gain valuable information about what IT is—and isn’t—doing well. Honest feedback from rank-and-file employees can help reveal the existence of problems in your department, both unexpected problems and emerging ones. It can also give you a good notion of the scope and scale of IT’s failings. Not only will you gain new insights about your department, enabling you to do your job better, but your employees will also benefit from these insights. Lastly, many IT workers are overworked and stressed out, and giving them the responsibility and power to evaluate their department (and their boss) could help make them feel more valued as employees—and be more engaged with their jobs.
Is there anything wrong with that?
About the Author
Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight.