January 26, 2011

Our performance review process is made for idiots, by idiots

Our company’s employee performance review process spans over 4 months and features 14 distinct steps. Seriously, I’m not making that up. In fact, some English major flunky over in Human Resources actually put together a flow-chart showing all the different steps and the various feedback loops – undoubtedly after viewing Flow Charts for Dummies. It’s a brilliant piece of corporate monkeyness which I would have shared with you dear readers, if I wasn’t afraid that the HR clowns might view the chart as proprietary information and sue me if I publicly release it.

The average employee spends countless hours completing the various training modules and review forms in order to complete his or her performance review. Most, if not all, of the employees take this process very seriously, writing, and re-writing their reviews to make sure that all of their accomplishments are well-articulated in written form so that their managers can know what a great job they’ve done. They believe that if they do this, then they’ll be able to get bigger raises and maybe bigger bonuses (if they’re even bonus eligible, which most employees are not).

Here is the thing: none of that crap matters.

You could have been the fucking Employee of the Year, personally selling $10 million worth of services, helping to implement the company’s new ERP system, and on your free time handing out company tee shirts to homeless people at the local shelter. You could have done all of that during the year with a big ‘ol smile on your face, coming into work early, staying late, and basically being the cheeriest damn employee on the company’s payroll, and none of that will have any bearing on your compensation, even if you summarized all that in breath-taking prose in your performance review. Why? Because the company is basically one big bureaucratic Socialist machine where there is absolutely no correlation between compensation and performance.

Sure everyone here likes to think of themselves as free-market types, and the company loves spewing that garbage about being an entrepreneurial company. Give me a freaking break. The only entrepreneurs here are Jose and Guillermo who run the tree-trimming business that keeps our courtyard area so tidy. To my minions: You, Joe The Corporate Monkey, are no entrepreneur. In fact, you are the anti-entrepreneur. You are a risk-adverse, corporate weenie who sucks on the tit of Mama Corporate Welfare. Just because you own 0.0000000001% of the company through your 50 options that are all under-water, this does not make you an entrepreneur. It makes you a corporate weenie with 50 shares of worthless options.

Don’t believe me? This year, try not working very hard. In fact, hardly work. Sure you should show up, but spend the day surfing the Web and do the bare minimum at your job. Never go “above and beyond”. Hell, don’t even approach “just enough and barely”. And next review cycle, compare your raise and bonus to what you got this year. It’ll be basically the same. How do I know? Because I suspected this to be the case and put theory into practice a few years back. Every year since then, I’ve worked less and less. Guess what has happened to my compensation. It’s grown.

Seems unfair? Of course it is, but that’s how things work at this bloated, Titanic-of-an-enterprise that has been over-run by a bunch of flow-chart dependent, should-have-been-Politburo-members, shareholder value destroying ass-hats. It’s up to you to figure out how the system functions and work it to your advantage. If you don’t, and continue to do shit like spending countless hours on your performance review so that you can get that 1.5 percent raise, well then you deserve to drown in this sea of corporate floccinaucinihilipilification (real word).


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