I don’t believe this is an idea whose time has come

I ran across this presentation of a Living Social style performance review system:

http://i.bnet.com/video/itunes/12z0315_GeorgeHu_Salesforce_sd_DL.m4v

I’m pretty sure that it is not yet April 1st, so I’m going to assume this program is for real. If it catches on, it represents a giant step toward the gamification of performance reviews.

We are currently in the process of adapting to a new performance review system at my workplace, and the process is immensely complicated. There is definitely some crowd sourcing potential in these systems and room for improvement. But I think that what’s really missing from these systems is a basis for internal motivation. I’m a firm believer that people will naturally try to excel. If people are not trying to excel, it should be taken as a sign that something is disrupting the system. Given that basic assumption, the best kind of performance review system is one that naturally allows, rewards and encourages people to strive to do their best, one that respects and recognizes peoples’ natural talents and interests. Gamification of performance just makes a disrespectful joke out of this. I have to wonder if this is a consequence of an increasingly pervasive artificial system of punishments and rewards. Instead of people finding and experiencing the natural consequences of their actions, are people instead looking for external rewards, such as badges on social media interfaces?

While I truly believe in embracing technology, I don’t believe that this is a step forward. In my ideal work situation, we would all be encouraged to do our best, credited for the work that we do, and given work that we’re most enthusiastic about.

If you think that is naive, please prove me wrong!

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