Training & Performance

Performance Reviews: Habit or Necessity?

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Although new processes of evaluation are being introduced for how performance is measured, a formal performance evaluation is still considered the most common practice. Sitting down with employees individually to discuss continuous improvement plans, short-term and long term career goals, and documenting progress is still an essential part of operations. The conversation that takes place during a performance review allows for an exchange of information which leads to very positive outcomes. But as times change, there are new developments to improve the effectiveness of evaluating performance.

A popular alternative for performance reviews is frequent exchanges between managers and employees. Depending on your organization, having a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-in with employees facilitates what some say is a higher chance of reaching goals and motivating employees. Organizations are moving away from the formal annual reviews and towards recurrent meetings with employees. By having these shorter recurring meetings, managers have a clearer understanding of the immediate tasks at hand and can easily re-direct focus if needed. Reoccurring meetings also allow for employees to discuss any grievances or difficulties on the job in order to get the coaching and guidance needed. As managers become more accessible and employees become more open, a trust is developed that can cultivate more productivity, accountability, and the achievement of common goals. Setting measurable goals and having regular meetings can not only keep everyone focused on meeting organizational objectives, but also give employees a sense of ownership over meeting their personal goals. Depending on your organization, these meetings can even be conducted electronically. Conducting performance reviews online is a great way to accommodate busy schedules and save time while still documenting and tracking employee performance.

Whether your organization decides to conduct a formal performance review annually or streamline reviews to short, reoccurring meetings, performance reviews are likely here to stay. Continuous improvement, learning and development, and relationship building are all advantages that are accomplished by performance reviews making it a strategic necessity for organizations. If managers in your organization dread performance reviews, are slow to complete them, or have negative feelings towards the review process, it may be time to do an assessment. Are you are conducting traditional performance reviews out of habit or is the process yielding the intended results? If not, you may want to consider a different approach.