The days of the traditional annual employee review are fading fast, at least as a stand-alone means of assessing performance. Ongoing feedback in real time is much more valuable, useful and popular.
- In one recent study, more than 90 percent of employees stated that they would prefer the manager to address concerns and learning opportunities with them on the spot, versus waiting until formal review time. The results of a second study are even more telling: 41 percent of respondents said they would switch jobs just to avoid having to endure an annual review.
- Annual reviews can be ineffective and inefficient. Managers have reported spending an average of more than two days on each employee review. And, more than half noted that those reviews didn’t have the desired effect on performance improvement. One large employer calculated its employees devoted two million work hours on review preparation each year.
Both managers and employees in today’s fast-paced world tend to forget the details of what they worked on 11 or 12 months ago. As a result, accomplishments are sometimes attributed to the wrong people, or overlooked altogether. Another negative: annual reviews are geared toward looking backwards instead of focusing on the future.
Here’s a Better Idea …
Instead of limiting employee performance feedback to once a year, try:
- Check-ins: At the Gap, Inc., managers are encouraged to have 12 informal conversations with employees about their performance, over the course of a year. Via coaching in real time, these interactions enable managers to identify and resolve concerns in a timelier manner.
- Quarterly metrics: Quarterly goals tend to be a much better indicator of employee performance than annual ones. Research also shows that companies that set performance goals quarterly generate 31 percent greater returns from their evaluation process than those who do it annually. And, those who do it monthly fare even better.
- Rewards training for managers: Adobe uses a training program to address the question, “How can pay raises by awarded if ratings aren’t compiled?” The company’s rewards training shows managers “how to make decisions with a variety of different scenarios – from a well-compensated employee who isn’t meeting some of his or her goals to a star performer who is low on the salary range,” according to Donna Morris, executive vice president of customer and employee experience. Adobe also has an Employee Resource Center staffed by dedicated experts who can be reached online, in person or by phone.
- Performance snapshots: This tool evaluates employees at a single moment in time, rather than over an entire year. They are typically conducted upon completion of a project, and they empower managers to dialogue with employees while that assignment is still top of mind. In this context, recognition can be given, challenges can be identified, and any necessary training or skill-building can be promptly arranged.
If you need help in improving your employee performance review process, consider partnering with TRC Professional Solutions. We’ll guarantee you the individualized time and attention required to position your company as a leading employer of choice within your industry. Contact us today to learn more.