No one likes the annual review process. Employees dread receiving feedback on things that they did that they barely remember, and leaders can’t provide realistic feedback because they can’t remember what happened that long ago.
Employees deserve performance reviews more than just once a year. The annual process really does a disservice to not only the employee, but also the leader, team and entire organization. It’s impossible to expect managers to provide a solid learning experience for employees based on outdated information that is jaded by the most recent occurrences.
Leaders need to create a culture of candid feedback in order to set high expectations that employees feel empowered to achieve. I recommend two options to overcome the pitfalls of the annual review:
- Have structured conversations and detailed goals quarterly
- Scrap the review process altogether
Let’s start with idea number one. By setting short-term goals for employees to accomplish, leaders will be able to give realistic, just-in-time feedback to each of their employees. Also, the employee will be more productive because they know what is expected of them.
Option one can be completed on a quarterly basis or more frequently, but the organization has to be committed to the process. By implementing a culture of regular feedback, employees will feel supported and will be more willing to take risks. They may also be more innovative and creative because they will continuously be moving on to the next project that needs to be accomplished in a shorter time frame.
Moving on to option number two. I think by starting out with option one, number two is nearly inevitable. Once companies realize how much time and money is wasted on the formal review process, they will encourage leaders to scrap the annual review program altogether and simply provide genuine feedback on a daily basis.
If option number two is the goal, leaders need to be successfully trained in providing honest, open and relevant performance information. Also, leaders should encourage employees to provide feedback about all aspects of their job in order to create a culture of candor. A leader should want employees to give recommendations about the leader’s performance as well in order to lead by example and prove that the culture really is about development.
Completely changing the review process is a possibility for any company. Leaders need to look at the current process to see if it’s working, and if it’s not, do some research to see if there are other options that could be more useful. Here are six examples of companies who have given up on the traditional review approach.
Does your company have annual reviews? Would you like to have a different system? Let me know in the comment section below.