Break Away From Annual Performance Reviews

Dreaded by employees and managers alike, annual performance reviews are shifting in favor of continuous feedback. Many employees don’t want to wait a full year to know how they’re doing. Accustomed to instant reactions from social media, millennials are challenging companies to provide timely, relevant feedback. Managers who provide continuous meaningful coaching help employees adjust their priorities, stay engaged and feel empowered to do their best.

Stop saving feedback

Continuous input and discussions can reinvigorate underperformers and recognize high performers. It can also minimize some of the biggest complaints about annual reviews:

  1. Recency – Reviews cover 6 or 12 months, but the feedback tends to be focused on the last 6 weeks. This is particularly upsetting if an employee had a big achievement earlier in the review period. With ongoing discussions, make a note of recurring patterns, themes and key accomplishments.
  2. Surprise! – It’s unfair to surprise an employee during their review. Create a culture where impromptu feedback is the norm. Managers who show they care about employee development create engaged employees. Reviews can summarize themes discussed and how the themes and the employee evolved throughout the year.
  3. Judgement – Managers are expected to come into reviews identifying exact issues and areas for improvement. They are anxiety-inducing and backwards-looking. It sets up an adversarial exchange instead of collaborating with employees and guiding them to identify opportunities which ultimately can be more motivating.

Establish a constructive culture

If managers are expected to coach, then they need to know how.

  • Easier for employees to understand and adjust their performance if feedback is provided in real time. Focus on the facts and avoid bringing emotion into the discussion.
  • Establish informal check-ins asking: How are you doing? How am I doing? How can I help?
  • Help employees to develop attainable goals that align with company values and provide them with a tangible career path.

Before rolling out a new process, HR needs to work with executive leadership to create a communications plan emphasizing continuous feedback is about growth, not reprimands. Is your organization ditching annual performance reviews or opting for a blended approach? How do these changes affect substantiating raises and promotions? As a top certified professional employer organization (CPEO) in Illinois, MidwestHR can develop a plan that aligns with your company’s vision and anticipates any issues. This workplace trend is gaining momentum with no signs of slowing down. Give us a call to get started.

Starting in the Professional Employer Organization industry 24 years ago, Char has been involved in almost every aspect of PEO services. In her role as the Managing Director of HR & Benefits at MidwestHR, she oversees all HR compliance and employee benefits in addition to managing retirement plans.