Performance Records Go To Hanger-51

President Obama wants to computerize and standardize all medical records within the next 5 years.  An ambition some call audacious and others call imperative.  Proponents suggest that Electronic Medical Records (EMR) technologies would, among other things,  ultimately facilitate a higher standard of care to patients.  Essentially, an integrated system would allow a patient to accumulate a comprehensive medical history that could be accessed at a moment’s notice by healthcare professionals wherever and whenever.  Change your primary care physician? Doesn’t matter.  Out of town with a medical emergency? No worries.  Want to give your neurologist a peek at your cardiologist’s notes? Consider it done.  Are there privacy issues? Yep…and others.  But doesn’t it make sense that the people being paid top dollar to manage your health have the complete picture of what works, what doesn’t, what’s strong, what’s not? Sure does to me.

So what if we could do the same thing with employee performance records?  What if we could standardize at least a piece of those records so the data could be transferrable to new employers? Shouldn’t your development continue where it left off at the old employer?  Seems to me that your new boss would like the opportunity to really understand your weaknesses (as opposed to whatever canned answer you gave him/her during your interview.)  Seems that might actually give him/her a chance to address them head-on before they creep up somewhere down the road and hinder everybody’s progress.  It would also give him/her a chance to quickly highlight and truly leverage your strengths.  Tim Sackett and Fistful of Talent had an interesting post the other day about carrying the “hickeys” of workplace transgressions around with you from job to job.  I’m not sure any one has to see your hickey until you’re actually on the job.  And as long as there was some understanding that they couldn’t kick you out for having a hickey (after all, we’ve all had them) then why not just get them out in the open? 

I think about the many years of performance reviews I had with my former employers.  It kind of bums me out that those are just sitting in a box somewhere in a storage room…worthless to anything I’m doing today.  Electronic Performance Records (EPR)…hmmmmmmmm.

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8 Responses to Performance Records Go To Hanger-51
  1. adowling
    February 12, 2010 | 9:59 am

    What about good employees that get bad reviews because of crappy managers? I had a manager that called me aloof and uncommunicative in a performance review once and the next year the new manager (same company) just copy and pasted. When I told my new boss (new company) after getting a glowing review, especially in communication, she asked what that original manager had asked me.

    All that to say this. Some employees leave companies to escape bad stigmas given by crappy managers. While you can work your butt off to prove those stigmas are incorrect, that first impression, even if its reading an old review, is sometimes hard to shake.

  2. Charlie Judy
    February 12, 2010 | 10:28 am

    april, certainly a risk. but i think it could be mitigated through a standardized form. i’m not suggesting a) sharing said form should be mandatory, or 2) said form should be comprehensive. what if there were like a one page “scorecard” with some standard competencies – communication, managing conflict, attention to detail, organization skills, time management, etc. etc. it could be limited to 1-Black Belt, 2-Green Belt, 1-White Belt. nothing that could necessarily be “damaging” or nothing that could terribly biased. somethings that’s “directional” so there is an idea of where opportunities for improvement exist. what if your new employer initiated the request directly from your old employer (after you’ve been hired and are onboard) with your acknoledgement, approval, and release?

  3. Tammy Colson
    February 12, 2010 | 10:51 am

    I think the better method might be hiring managers who hire for competency and stop expecting perfect employees. I’ve been going through several rounds of interviews here, and the underlying concerns here have revolved around candidates not being perfect enough. If there was actual documentation of their humanness, I’m not sure we’d ever get anyone hired.

    EPR is a good idea. and I think you are way ahead of your time. (unless of course, the trend continues for more perfect employees)

    I have to agree with April on this one.

  4. Charlie Judy
    February 12, 2010 | 11:11 am

    so if we could hire managers who could stop “expecting perfect employees,” then wouldn’t they be more constructive with “trailing developmental needs.” as a manager, if i hire an HR pro for my team based on their traditional credentials (i.e. resume, interview, some very baseline references, background check, maybe a PES), then i’ve already signed up for the good and bad. i’d just like to get out in front of the developmental opportunities. “hey, it looks like time management may be a challenge for you. let’s figure out how to make you stronger in that realm.” the flip side is, “hey, it looks like you’re superious with written communications. maybe you should manage our online employee intranet content.” granted, i can be a bit of an idealist (and thanks for suggesting i’m “ahead of [my] time).”

  5. Melissa Moore
    February 12, 2010 | 11:25 am

    Learning how to succeed in a career takes time and practice. Most people do not shoot out of high school and magically become great workers. Also, very few small businesses even do performance reviews. In fact, I don’t believe I have EVER had an “official” review.

    I can’t imagine any business actually releasing performance records as public information. It is a provocative idea, but at this point I can barely get more than dates of employment out of former employers.

  6. Charlie Judy
    February 12, 2010 | 12:09 pm

    melissa, its amazing how we are all bound by the constraints of “the way it’s always been done.” maybe the focus of this discussion should not be whether it CAN be done in this envrionment (legal constraints, data integrity, etc); rather, assuming such a system could be developed would it be useful/beneficial to the employee/employer…would it further one’s development/success on their future jobs. you know what i hate as an employer? people who look great on paper and leave a job because they had a conflict with a manager and said conflict was a result of their own developmental needs. ultimately, the new employer is going to get stuck with the same issues. said employee will probably end up leaving again. why not try to address it up front so they don’t get to that point. and here’s a question: are employees more likely to accept criticism/feedback when they are new to a job than if they’ve been there for a while? maybe its a more productive/constructive conversation up front. thanks for the comments!

  7. Jennifer
    February 16, 2010 | 3:18 pm

    I always enjoy reading your blog and often wonder why you don’t have more responses. I don’t always agree with you, but you always make me think. A medical record is based on facts (Patient reacted to this medicine. This was or was not effective in treating X). A manager’s feedback can be subjective, so that is a drawback. I don’t like the idea of a “form’ that restricts the feedback. I think if you’re going to do it, do it big. It would be better to have the entire review form available. But allow/encourage employees to provide feedback on their manager’s feedback. Background information that might help a future reader understand. Interesting concept… not sure if it could be pulled off though.

  8. [...] Why do companies continue holding onto those “difficult” people that are a drag on the workplace? [...]

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