When trying to engage employees and managers on people topics, why on earth don’t more people leverage The Office?  Personally, I prefer the original BBC version.  Ricky Gervais is so genius.

The exchange captured in this clip is obviously hilarious.   However in the midst of the hilarity, I think there are some key takeaways that can be taken as Performance Review core principles:

  • Make sure employees truly understand the performance process. Many times this is taken for granted.
  • Make self assessment questions mean something. Sometimes, frankly, they’re useless questions that employees find difficult to correlate to their day to day reality. Why not get employees involved in helping to craft them?
  • There should very few surprises during official performance discussions. As spoofed in this clip – David is unaware of how clueless Kevin is, and Kevin seems completely unaware of what a performance review actually is.
  • At the end of the day, it’s really the conversation that matters.  Forms and periodic mandatory processes can’t replace a good manager/employee relationship that’s based on ongoing communication and respect.

So my suggestion is this – when you’re about to kick off a Performance Review period, share this (or another) clip to set the stage.  Use it either during an in-person session like a town hall or via the web on your intranet – and begin your team conversation around Performance Management best practices.

Oh, also, here’s a link to a Performance Review Template (and related stuff) thanks to Inc. Magazine.   After all, you have to start somewhere, right?