In recent years, there’s been a continual and growing number of calls for death to the performance review. But the real issue isn't with employee feedback itself - far from it. The real issue is the manner in which too many companies still approach it.
A 2013 Forbes post by HR analyst Josh Bersin broke down the issue with great clarity pointing out that the true problem is that many organizations are using the same approach to performance reviews that they’ve used for decades. This out-dated model is built on the idea that once-a-year feedback enough. If you talk to employees, especially today's generation of millennial employees, you’ll quickly find most of them have a negative perspective on this old school approach to reviews.
Which is where the idea of the dreaded performance review comes in.
Managers hate performance reviews. Employees hate them too. A 2014 study found that pretty much everyone hates them.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Taking a new, more agile approach to performance assessment and feedback changes the rules of how performance reviews are executed, and more importantly how they are perceived by employees.
Here are five ways to make your employees stop dreading, and actually start to enjoy, performance reviews:
1. Make Performance Feedback Part of Your Culture
Feedback is a valuable and necessary part of departments and teams being able to met unit or corporate goals, so only really talking about performance once a year does everyone a disservice. Employees and managers should both be trained and encouraged to provide feedback, both formal and informal, on a regular basis. That way problems can be easily identified as they arise and issues dealt with before they escalate. Setting the expectation at the company-level helps everyone understand that their voice is heard, and that they are expected to provide feedback.
2. Understand How Negative Feedback is Perceived
Part of creating a culture where feedback is expected is also understanding how people deliver — as well as react to —negative feedback. Human nature is that no one likes to receive criticism, so the tone and manner in which it is delivered can make a major difference. When providing negative feedback it is important to stick to the facts and focus on improving future performance so the employee has a clear idea of how to avoid this same issue moving ahead.
3. Set and Measure Goals
Goal setting is a big part of performance. Employees should be actively involved in the development of their individual goals, and have a clear understanding of how that ties to the team’s goals, and the overall corporate goals as well. The greater personal connection and investment in goals by each individual, the strongest overall performance will be. Goals should be measured on an ongoing basis so they can be adjusted and corrected. If need be, new goals should also be set throughout the year as needed.
4. Help Managers Become Coaches
People generally do not leave companies, they leave because of their relationship with their managers. Your manager’s ability to give consistent, accurate and effective feedback is key to organizational success. Invest in tools and training that help your managers learn how to have effective conversations about performance on a regular basis.
5. Engage Employees Actively in the Process
Feedback and conversations about performance is a two-way street. Employees will have a greater respect for the process if they are active participants. Start by including self-evaluations as part of the performance review process and include 360 feedback so they can assess performance of their managers and peers. Giving employees a say on a monthly or quarterly basis can be a powerful way to spot and intervene in employee or even issues with managers before they result in lost productivity or worse, employee turnover.
Scrapping the old school way of doing performance reviews and moving to a continuous feedback driven approach puts the mantra of “employees are our most valuable resource” into practice.
Want to know how your employees really feel? Schedule a demo today and start asking them!