In recent years, there’s been a continual stream of calls for the death of the performance review. A Forbes post by HR analyst Josh Bersin focused on the issue, pointing out that the problem isn’t with reviews themselves, but with how feedback is collected and delivered.
Performance reviews are not the problem. The true problem is that many organizations are using the same approach to performance reviews that they’ve used for decades. This model is built on the idea that once-a-year feedback is enough. If you talk to employees, you’ll quickly find that most of them have a negative view of this old-school approach.
That is where the poor reputation of the dreaded performance review comes from.
Managers hate them. Employees hate them, too. A 2014 study found that pretty much everyone hates performance reviews.
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 a better experience for your employees (and managers):
1. Make Performance Feedback Part of Your Culture
Feedback is valuable and necessary for departments and teams to meet unit or corporate goals, so only talking about performance once a year clearly does everyone a disservice. Employees and managers should be trained and encouraged to provide feedback, both formal and informal, on a regular basis. This way, problems can be easily identified as soon 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
An important part of creating a culture where feedback is expected is understanding how people deliver — as well as react to — negative feedback. Human nature is such 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 – this ensures that the employee has a clear idea of how to avoid repeating the same issue.
3. Set and Measure Goals
Setting goals is a big part of performance. Employees should be actively involved in the development of their individual goals, and should have a clear understanding of how those tie into their team’s objectives and overall corporate aims. The greater the personal connection and investment in goals by each individual, the stronger overall performance will be. Goals should be measured on an ongoing basis so they can be adjusted if necessary. New goals should also be set throughout the year as needed.
4. Help Managers Become Coaches
Often, when people leave companies, they leave because of their relationship with their managers. Your manager’s ability to give consistent, accurate and effective feedback is therefore key to organizational success. Make sure you invest in tools and training that will help them learn how to have regular, effective conversations about performance.
5. Engage Employees Actively in the Process
Feedback and conversations about performance should be 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 the 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 dissatisfaction – or even management issues – before they result in lost productivity, or worse, employee turnover.
Scrapping the old-school way of doing performance reviews and moving to a dynamic, feedback-driven way of doing things really puts the mantra of “employees are our most valuable resource” into practice.
If you’re interested in improving performance reviews for your staff, Questback’s employee insight solutions can help. Learn more here.