Jettison the Annual Performance Review

Dear Coach,

What’s your view of the annual performance review?



Dear Jay,

My view is simple: get rid of it!

I have dealt with the annual performance review on innumerable occasions going back to my employment lawyer days and continuing into my current work as an executive coach and organization culture consultant.

Performance reviews have never worked except for plaintiffs’ attorneys. Years ago, SHRM published a study by a California employment law attorney. She researched state and federal California cases for when the performance review was a material fact.

She found 40 cases. In 39 of them, the performance review was cited by the plaintiff/employee to undercut the employer’s defense. In only one lone case was the performance review used by the employer to bolster its defense! As I’ve long known, the notion that the annual performance review is a necessary HR tool for compliance, claim prevention and claim defense is simply bunk.

Replacing the Performance Review

By saying employers should eliminate the annual performance review, I’m not suggesting employees shouldn’t get feedback. There’s a much better way to do this. It involves four tools or concepts I’ve written about before: the Star Profile, the No–FEAR conversation, Feedforward and the Same Day Summary.

Step One: Create a Star Profile using the process described here.

Step Two: Use the No-FEAR method described here in letting the employee know the progress being made on the employee’s star profile.

Step Three: Convert feedback into Feedforward described here.

Step Four:  Following the meeting, use the Same Day Summary tool described here to capture the most important aspects of the discussion.

I recommend that employers use this approach on at least a quarterly basis with each employee.

Based on my experience, I can say with confidence that much good will be done. This approach will enhance the manager-employee relationship, improve productivity, engagement, accountability, and retention. In cases where the employee-to-job fit is not right, this approach will allow for a dignified and respectful transition.



Jathan Janove is a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching Master Coach and Practice Leader. You can learn more about him here. If you have a question you’d like him to address, please email us at


1 Comment

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  • Jeff Ertel
    · Reply

    Love the Jettison the Performance review Message

    A few attachments seem to be missing. Could you share the star profile and NO FEAR approaches?

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