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Performance Reviews Are Now Controlled By AI and Provide Constant Feedback

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By Mark Carey

Like everything these days, businesses are tinkering with AI. Employers are now infusing generative AI into performance reviews.  The WSJ ran an article titled, The Performance Review is Dying. Make Way for a Firehose of Feedback.  Obviously if you know my employment philosophy via these articles and my podcast (Employee Survival Guide), the title of the article sang to me in so many humorous ways.

We already know that performance reviews do not work and only paper a trail for employers to eventually terminate employees. Now the stakes are even higher, and the job has become harder for employees.  Previously, employees had to contend with a supervisor who had no training regarding performance management of employees to rate their annual performance.  Today’s performance review is a highly subjective broad brushed criticism of employee performance not grounded in facts and reality.  I often see performance reviews containing supervisor comments about the way they communicate to coworkers, how they are disengaged during meetings (think quiet quitting), or some vague comment reflecting negatively on their performance. 

With the advent of AI, the employee now must deal with a computer in real time to assess their performance, a truly utopian experiment for sure.  My mind is filled with comedic thoughts on the various futuristic examples this new performance review will take.  Will it be the female AI voice of Scarlet Johannson from the movie Her probing your inner most secretive feelings?  Will it be the voice Hal from a 2001 Space Odyssey?  In that movie we see a sort of performance review play out where the employee is given a negative review by Hal; I’m not kidding and worth a two-minute listen.   

The alleged argument about using the generative AI “firehose” performance feedback is to create more transparency amongst employees and management.  The idea here is if the AI computer constantly assesses employee performance, both the good, the bad and the ugly, somehow everything will become transparent and more efficient.  I see one problem here.  Who writes the code to input into the AI machine learning device?  A human! Where is the AI device going to machine learn from? Management teams filled with more humans.  

Guess who the coders, the employers and the managers left out of the creative development of the machine learning AI bot? Employees!  Good, now you’re learning faster than the AI device that will soon evaluate your performance. Are you a wee bit concerned about all this?  You should be.

If the firehose approach to performance feedback generates transparency, what type of transparency are we talking about here.  Will the AI bot assess and rate variability of implicit bias in employee behavior? (I’m not in favor of implicit bias testing in DEI) Will the device pick up on micro aggressions amongst employees and report them to Human Resources?  Here is a good one- will the AI performance review pick up on the employee using an AI device to respond to the AI performance management criticism?  In the end we can all sabotage the performance review process by simply “making shit up”, because that is what is happening today.  The thought provoking questions here are endless, but you get the point.

The bottom line about generative AI performance management is that employers are not going to seek the transparency to help protect employees from unequal and discriminatory behavior. The opposite is in fact true.  Generative AI performance reviews are the next step too far over the precipice of default management tactics.  Employers will be collecting data on all aspects of employee performance, including whether or not their mouse moved on their desk in order to assess if they are actually working or collecting video clips through the laptop to discern or “scrape” data from the work environment or worse the home environment.

Yes, of course I am gaslighting generative AI performance reviews because it deserves it and no one is attacking the subject with extreme distrust.  Even the WSJ article above demonstrates mere child’s play criticism of this new management toy of destruction.  Employers deserve it because employers constantly loose sight of the gold standard of employee engagement- building trust amongst the dehumanized human capital we call the American workforce.  That same workforce that supports the Google and Nvidia stock price today and tomorrow.  Oh, I could go on and on here.  

The American workforce does not trust management and they have good reason not to, especially when they can be fired at-will at any time, forced into overbroad and illegal noncompete agreements (but wait- FTC we need your answer) and slammed down the rabbit hole of hell called forced arbitration (except sex discrimination- thanks to Gretchen Carlson).  

Unfortunately, “the state of the union is not good”. Employees that I am speaking to never have anything good to say about their employers- why is that?  

If you would like more information about this subject, please contact our employment attorneys at Carey & Associates (203) 255-4150, P.C. or email to

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