Work

Annual maintenance, punishment?

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This tête-à-tête should be an opportunity for an employee and his superior to talk to each other. But it often comes down to a simple notation, generating stress, disappointment and demotivation. A regrettable fact, because if it is well conducted, it benefits both employees and the company.

Cécile Guéret

There are those who do not believe it; those who display their discontent; those who prepare it conscientiously, hoping for evolution, increase, congratulations. And those who do not sleep at night, like Martine, 47, a bank clerk, who finally burst into tears in front of her superior: "Too much pressure."

The report is clear: in the United States In the United States, 90% of human resources managers consider that it does not contribute anything, and 65% of employees think it is unsuitable for their work (Study Corporate Executive Board (CEB) conducted on the thousand largest American companies, 2014). More than 30% of annual interviews lead to a significant fall in performance ("The effects of feedback interventions on performance" by Avraham N. Kluger and Angelo DeNisi, meta-analysis of six hundred and seven studies, Psychological Bulletin , 1996), and the associated ratings would lead to disengagement and decline in creativity, including for the best ones. "Each year, the following month, the atmosphere was deplorable," says Frederic, 40, who held for fifteen years as a director in a large international group.

However, this has not always been the case, recalls Céline Ricocé, Gestaltist coach and psychotherapist: "When these interviews arrived in France, their formalism reassured them, finally the rules were clear, and the promotions did not take place. would decide more according to obscure political games.For the most vulnerable, those who do not know how to put forward, it was a guarantee of transparency and the assurance of being able to express themselves on their career at least once a year. " Except that the annual interview, expected as a moment of meeting between a subordinate and his "n + 1", is more and more often summarized in ... a simple notation.

"Respect for the function, sense of responsibility, courage, etc., we have thirteen criteria to point out, from" superior "to" insufficient ", details Arnaud, 51, captain in the national police.We then give a overall score between 1, "among the weak", and 7, "among the best." A small space is dedicated to a free comment. Marion, 32, a project manager in a start-up, must himself check the boxes of his assessment, before submitting to his superior, who validates, or not.When we know that, in most trades, these notes determine bonuses, promotions, changes of position and changes, how, then, arrive relaxed at this tete-a-tete?

A note that does not define us

"The risk is to believe that the rating, good or bad, defines us, while our success depends on the context, the means allocated in time and money, the team ... ", emphasizes the police captain, who was" demolished "by a" devaluation "after years of excellence. And while Marion comes out of her annual interview "hyperstressed by [her] new goals", others are, in addition, directly competing with their colleagues. An idea from the United States, with the sweet name of forced ranking (mandatory classification) according to a rating curve (a quota of employees for each note): prohibition to put the same appreciation to everyone.

In France, we prefer to talk about recommendations - more politically correct - but the principle is the same, and this procedure is prosperous. "At least until today: Several large American companies having recently removed their classification notes, it should also move in France, "says Céline Ricocé.

"There is no question of talking to each other, but of counting", announces the clinical sociologist Vincent de Gaulejac, in Work, the reasons for the anger (Points, 2015). Compare the production of the employee (number of files processed, customers won ...) to what it costs the company. However, in the vast majority of trades, the non-recoverable activity has passed by the wayside.

Forgotten the administrative tasks, the maintenance of the equipment, the response to emails, the help of the colleague ... Not only does this lead to competition and cheating (take, for example, easy folders to inflate its numbers), but, By identifying the individual with his or her profitability, the individualized evaluation linked to exponential objectives entails "an unsatisfied quest for recognition and a growing dependence on the judgment of others", the sociologist continues. We understand better the anxiety of not being up to it, of never doing enough, of being insufficient and, therefore, the stress related to the interviews.

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