Principles Of Performance Reviews And The Hooper-Bacal Method

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There is no real mystery about how to make performance reviews actually create value for everyone -- manager, employee, and employer, yet we continue to do them all wrong.

The Hooper-Bacal method has an annual review process, but it has almost no importance in the system, and takes almost no time to do. For many that's hard to believe.

Here you'll find out what we know about reviews, and how to make them work, again, basic principles about performance at work, and the realities of reviews that work.

  • Performance reviews need to help each employee do their jobs better. That's the ONLY reason why it's important to do them. If they don't help improve performance, they are simply wasteful and uncomfortable overhead.
  • Performance reviews should never be about punishment. In fact, it's a common misconception that performance appraisals, even traditional ones are important for disciplinary reasons. Research shows that the percentage of cases where reviews are actually used for disciplinary reasons is so small, it's actually shocking.
  • Performance reviews only work if employees and managers are partners in the process, and they never work when it's the case that reviews focus on the manager doing something TO the employee.
  • Ratings and rankings are worse than useless. They don't motivate most people. They are vague -- much too vague to provide anything but the most superficial feedback, and have no ability to improve employee performance.
  • It's an illusion that we can OBJECTIVELY AND MEANINGFULLY evaluate the value of an employee. His or her contributions will involve some things that can be measured objectively, but it's impossible to assess the overall contributions. To that end the Hooper-Bacal method involves negotiation through all facets of the process, so we all stop pretending that the end result is an objective evaluation. There's no such thing.
  • Performance reviews have been described as managing while looking in the rear view mirror, and for good reason. If we want to improve performance, we need to take information from the past, and use it to improve the future. Otherwise, what's the point?
  • No surprises. Performance reviews are simply a way of wrapping up the review period, for the purpose of improving future performance, so there will almost never be any surprises during the review conversation. Not only should the employee never be shocked by the conversation, but the manager should never be hearing anything significant during the review conversation that he or she is not aware of. The essence of performance reviews is to summarize, what's already been discussed during the year.
  • The less time spent doing annual performance reviews the better, and the more time available for managers and employees to do the work. In fact within the Bacal-Hooper method, the annual review can be completed in about fifteen minutes per employee.

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About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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We Believe

  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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  • Casselman
  • Ontario
  • Canada, K0A 1M0