Stop the Annual Performance Review Event, Try This

By Michael Heller

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At the end of every year, it's a no-fail reaction that everyone runs around pulling information for the annual performance review. For many offices, this still holds true, but is this truly the best way to end every year? Instead, let's see what happens when the whole team works toward performance feedback throughout the entire year. 

85% of Millennials, who currently make up one-third of the workforce, would feel more confident in their work if their managers had more frequent performance conversations. This alarming statistic calls for performance reviews to be turned into a process observed by whole organizations rather than once a year events. How exactly do you go from affair to process, though?

Lay The Groundwork

It all starts with the senior leadership and trickles down from there. If your days consist of little to no contact with your managers, then it may be no surprise they aren’t working performance management into their leadership style, as well. Add conversations about performance with managers into your daily or weekly routine.

shocking 50% of employees don’t feel confident about what is expected of them at work and this could very well be true for your team. Take the time out of your day to round on employees, just as doctors round on their patients every day, and get the scoop about their latest project.

Why this is beneficial to the process: Taking time out of your day to talk performance with your team brings the process into an everyday conversation instead of a once-a-year event. This keeps performance top of mind for when reviews do some around which means less prep time and more productivity.

Don’t Make It A Chore

After laying the groundwork yourself by adding performance management into your daily or weekly conversations, it’s time to make it a team effort. Task your managers with doing the same with their subordinates, but it’s important to make it less of a chore and more of an opportunity to advance the team altogether. Try giving incentives for improved performance amongst departments or teams to encourage managers to keep the conversation going.

Why this is beneficial to the process: Opening the lines of communication will create more engaged employees as individuals are 2x as likely to be actively disengaged if ignored by their manager. The incentives given will also boost team performance and give more details to talk about in the formal review. Build goals within everyone’s schedule and align the goals to your company values.

Accountability Within The Company

Having conversations about performance on a day-to-day basis gives a sense of accountability throughout the whole organization. This can be furthered even more by encouraging team members and managers to write down their goals for the week or the day so they have deliverables to discuss when these performance conversations come about.

If managers and senior leadership are communicating with each other and employees about projects and deadlines then it pushes individuals to meet those deadlines. This kind of work ethic and accountability becomes tangible within company culture.

Why this is beneficial to the process: When employees understand their overall role in business, 91% will work toward its success. But when they don’t, that figure drops sharply to 23%. Having these conversations about performance every day rather than once a year helps employees know where they stand within the organization and how their work contributes to the success of the team and company as a whole.

Using these day-to-day conversations to turn performance reviews into a process rather than an event helps make the review more meaningful for the employee as well as leadership. Reviews become the sum of these “mini-meetings” and neither party is surprised by what may be said because it’s likely already been discussed.

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