Annual performance reviews have gotten a bad rap in recent years – mostly because they often do more harm than good. They’re supposed to motivate and acknowledge those employees who were doing an excellent job over the previous year, but what they really achieve is a lower employee motivation. That’s because many reviews, or reviewers, leave those who are under-performing simply embarrassed and without any incentive to try harder.
According to INC, several companies have ditched the annual performance review practice in view of the fact that, by the end of a typical review, most people feel bad about themselves, and the company doesn’t exactly benefit from it.
What you can do instead of an annual performance review
Adapting a year-long, ongoing performance feedback practice will make your employees feel more comfortable and will give them the relief of knowing that all of their work won’t be under scrutiny and open to malevolent comments from managers and other teams.
– Instead of having the organization evaluate the performance of teams and individuals, have people review each other’s performance.
– Create opportunities for informal evaluations to enable constructive feedback to your employees, teams, and colleagues.
– Encourage your team to seek feedback and advice rather than dread it by assuming a positive attitude come feedback time.
– Organize follow-ups in which you can tangibly support employees to reach their full potential within the company and offer the tools and know-how they need to succeed and keep up with the rest of their peers.
– Keep a communication channel open at all times. You never know when an employee will need your advice.
– Praise more than you criticize. Appreciating the little things and the small successes of your team and employees is what will motivate them to stay focused.
Meaningful conversations that inspire action and solve problems
Remember that employee performance is not about criticism but about meaningful conversations that positively affect the employee – and by extension, the company.
Companies that have moved past the annual review performance practice (think Atlassian, Microsoft and Accenture) now engage in truly constructive feedback sessions in which feedback is not served cold but is accompanied with coaching and other supportive initiatives like mentoring. This ensures that the feedback is turned into impactful action that ameliorates the performance of the employee at hand and removes roadblocks.
A constructive performance review model emphasizes the human principles of empathy and support.
It is grounded in the vision of an organization’s responsibility to make the best out of its employees’ talents and time, and highlights the importance of ongoing support, education, and inspiration of the workforce through a dialogue that doesn’t presume, but gives employees a pedestal to speak their concerns and voice their problems. In this model, employees work together with management find the right solution that can benefit everyone involved.
One-to-one informal evaluations
Evaluating people in front of others is a dreadful, nightmarish thing to do that can only harm your employees’ momentum and engagement with the company.
Instead, heave heartfelt, informal one-to-one sessions in which evaluations are not perceived as threats or insults but as the springboard for fixing problems and coming up with great solutions. You’ll notice the difference – and so will your employees.
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