Performance Reviews: Why the Traditional Approach is Not Effective
Originally published in Medium.
Let’s discuss those dreaded and mostly ineffective performance reviews. In the last blog, I discussed the importance of informal feedback and how regular, casual conversations on what an employee does well or could improve upon are critical to improving performance and the overall mindset of your team. In addition, without consistent informal feedback, any formal feedback, like performance reviews, often lacks credibility and relevancy, making them relatively ineffective in improving performance.
The traditional approach to performance reviews — the annual one-sided interpretation of performance based on recent events or activity — causes employees to become confused, frustrated, and even angry. Additionally, many managers are typically under-prepared, utilize limited, outdated, or biased information, and often see the review as a burden rather than an opportunity to motivate their people to perform better. Research suggests that less than half of employees feel that performance reviews help their performance and that organizations feel the same way. In recent years, several companies including Adobe and GE, have abandoned the traditional annual review process due to its ineffectiveness.
It’s time to rethink the formal review. However, this doesn’t mean to throw it out completely. The majority of millennials want to have a formal review process in place, just in a different way. So, what changes need to be made to ensure formal feedback is useful and motivating?