The Problems With Formal Performance Reviews

Both employees and HR professionals surveyed had complaints about formal performance reviews.

A survey from BambooHR suggests formal performance reviews are outdated, make employees unhappy and do not fit in today’s workplace.


Only 16% of employees said they prefer to receive feedback in a formal performance review. Only 4% said they feel performance reviews are the best way to motivate and engage employees. Many more had complaints about them.


Two-thirds (67%) reported they feel they are not heard during­ their reviews, and 61% said their companies don’t look for opportunities to provide career development afterward. More than half (55%) said their companies don’t address concerns raised during­ performance reviews, and 62% indicated they don’t see chang­es occur from feedback they ­give.


In addition, 52% of employees said their companies don’t help them make and meet g­oals. Fifty-six percent said they don’t receive raises or bonuses for ­great performance.


It’s not just employees who feel formal performance reviews may help companies monitor performance but don’t help employees improve performance. Three out of four human resources (HR) professionals are critical about performance reviews.


Their top 5 criticisms are that performance reviews:

  • create a culture of competition, not collaboration;
  • create unnecessary politics;
  • are an inaccurate reflection of performance;
  • hurt en­ga­gement and innovation; and
  • provide nothing constructive.


The survey reveals the top 5 ways employees want to be inspired and motivated are through personalized recognition; open, informal conversations; one-on-ones geared toward career path; having their ideas heard and implemented; and raises and promotions.


The study collected responses via an online survey from 1,933 professionals older than 21 who are currently employed by companies with more than 50 employees.