Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

#MedEdPearls March 2022: Performance Reviews Reconsidered - Elevating Outcomes Through Humanized Systems

How do we do this? One solution is to recalibrate “performance reviews” as future-focused, collaborative, goal-setting conversations—those that will motivate individuals (humans) to envision a future beyond traditional outcomes measures—to wonder and dream. Modernizing the performance review “system” is an important step for taking our organizations to a new level from the ground up.   This may mean elevating and redefining metrics for performance, beyond strictly business or work-related units of measure like RVU calculations or faculty work load.

What could this look like? Scholars are increasingly examining the psychological needs of workers including, autonomy, competence, and relatedness, among others, and during a pandemic, these needs were heightened, yet often blurry. So now, more than ever before, we have an opportunity to pay attention to the messages we send, or don’t send, in our performance conversations.

Asking better questions during our reviews is an investment that helps people feel and be seen. Bringing better questions to performance conversations is also “power agnostic”—anyone can enrich performance outcomes through questions and conversations that matter. 

Connecting as humans, not machines or cogs, we can interrupt our everyday biases, and pursue clarity and focus around additional needs, roles, and dialogues--such as mentor, advisor, sponsor, or coach--which only expands the possibilities of promising results.


Where do we start?  To move forward with this elevated practice, some possible questions include:

  • What are examples of work you love doing right now?
  • What do you envision for your next career step?
  • What professional development or learning would help you?
  • How can we align our goals and efforts?
  • What kind of outcomes do you envision or dream about?
  • How is our team work?
  • How can we make our systems more equitable?

Download your own one-page idea guide to enrich your performance conversations. Then, let’s connect!


#MedEdPearls are developed monthly by the Central Group on Educational Affairs. Previously, #MedEdPearls explored topics including retooling the facilitator toolbox for learning, universal design for learning, and what happens after medical errors are disclosed.


Author Bio

Linda M. Love, EdD is a health professions educator and organizational developer. She is the Director of Faculty Development, an Interprofessional Academy of Educators Scholar, and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Linda’s areas of professional interest include career development and professional identity development of medical educators, developing new generations of health professions educational leaders, teaching and learning in the Information Age, and advancing systems that provide better sources of data to make the best decisions about growing faculty in the modern day.  Linda can be followed on Twitter or LinkedIn or contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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Tuesday, 05 July 2022