This One Group of Employees Needs Performance Reviews Cancelled!

This week on the HR Famous pod we talked about Google suspending performance reviews until 2021. When I first heard about it, my initial reaction was, “okay, here we go, the softening of America continues!” Come on, buck up kids!

It didn’t take me long to come to my senses when I thought about my own team. I have a super-strong group of employees, many of them mothers. On a weekly basis, I get to hear their stories of remote work with kids.

The reality we are facing right now, whether you think it’s right or not, is that most of your female employees with children are taking on the brunt of assisting the kids in their schooling at home. I’m a modern man. I don’t think women should have to take on this burden, but men mostly suck at organization, and from what I can tell, kids need vast amounts of organization when learning at home.

What does any of this have anything to do with Performance Reviews!? 


Because it’s unfair to judge your employees who are parents and besides doing their job, they are also forced to be a part-time educator because remote schooling is failing across the board. AND, the majority of these parent employees are women, who also just happen to face great equity issues already in your organization.

“Okay, Tim, we’ll suspend performance reviews for our employees who are parents, but we are going to continue with everyone else! Why would we stop all performance reviews?” See below…

Here is what will happen if you don’t cancel performance reviews in 2020, and maybe for a while after:

  • Your non-parent employees will get performance reviews and raises and promotions, life is great for them. Your parent employees, mostly women taking the brunt of the workload, won’t get a review and fall behind or will get a review and be judged unfairly based on what our crazy world has thrown at them.
  • Your pay equity issues and lack of gender diversity at leadership levels will continue and increase.
  • You’ll begin to see divisions amongst your employees, that will hurt your culture and productivity.
  • Eventually, you’ll create unwanted turnover or high performing talent.

I’m not saying we should stop feedback. Continue to do feedback all the time. Draft comms out to your employee base that speaks to the inequity our peers are facing and why you will suspend reviews until the pandemic is over and things get back to normal.

Some will read this and go, “yeah, I get it, but we are just going to have continued open dialogue with each team member and if someone says they don’t want a review right now, we’ll table them.” That’s a mistake because the women I know who are doing both roles right now will never tell you they don’t want a review. They are too proud for that, but it’s what’s best for them.

So, I’m a dude talking for women – because that’s what dudes do – we love to do some mansplaining! We also love to protect women. It’s a crazy genetic thing our mom gave us. Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you had this conversation in your organization? What are you going to do?

6 thoughts on “This One Group of Employees Needs Performance Reviews Cancelled!

  1. My company did pause the formal performance feedback/review process for the rest of 2020 – but this is because of staffing cuts and some managers managing double the employees. We are still giving pay increases across the board. Some managers are choosing to do the reviews even though the process has been paused. Kudos to those folks!

  2. How about instead of prioritizing parents, let’s prioritize all employees since every individual has been impacted greatly. Your single WFH employees are struggling with a higher rate of mental health issues. That’s bound to increase if we keep expecting them to carry the weight of the workforce.

  3. We did a really light mid-year evaluation, but it was more how are you doing and were you able to work on any goals and what should we push to the end of the year? For all of 2020, I also think we will do something.

    I am not sure if I could call it lucky, but in my small organization, of the people that can work remotely; I have exactly 7 parents. 6 are senior/upper level leaders (3 men, 3 women) that either pay for support or have spouses to help (a man & a woman). The 1 non-senior level, we have been giving flexibility too, but she is knocking it out performance wise because she too has a husband that helps shoulder the childcare piece. Maybe we would look at performance reviews differently if we had parent(s) who were really struggling. But so far? Our high performers (who happen to mostly be parents) are still our highest performers. But support is key and they happen to already have that in their life.

    It’s the hourly production team who can’t work remotely, that are amazing. We do provide good support compared to many in production (good PTO/sick leave polices before and being more flexible now), but still.

  4. Instead of suspending performance reviews, what if we just took the whole person into consideration in regards to their performance? I think (hope) that employers do this already with employees who might be battling serious illnesses or going through other personal upheaval, yet still come to work and give it their best. How is this situation different and why should we penalize anyone for taking care of their families while still coming to work and pounding it out here? I know several families who made the decision to have one parent, in all cases the mom, quit her full-time job to instead stay home and take on the role of full-time educator to their children. While I have no doubt that this was the best decision for their families, what are their former workplaces missing out on? Maybe I’ve already gone soft, but I say stay the path with performance evaluations, but consider the totality of the circumstances of the pandemic.

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