SumTotal Blog

The annual review is dead. Long live continuous feedback.

August 31, 2017



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42% of employees want and expect feedback every week. Yep, every week.

The question is, can current processes for performance reviews and forced ratings deliver and meet such expectations?

In most cases, the answer is probably not. Recent Fosway Group research shows that only 44% of respondents believe their performance management process is ready for the modern workforce. This means the majority believe there is work to be done.

The good news is we are seeing change. Companies are attempting to resolve this disconnect.  Mercer’s 2017 Global report reveals that 88% of companies not only made changes to their performance management process in 2016, they expect more to follow. Could the driver for this be the knowledge that organizations who provide in-the-moment coaching create a strengths-based culture which results in higher quality work along with employees who are more engaged and stay longer?

Whatever the reason is, I’m happy to see companies moving in this new direction.

One key change is an appetite for continuous feedback, which is now prevalent in the workplace with 81% reporting that they already have an “anytime feedback” tool in place. Granted, constant feedback isn’t always practical or feasible; but the simple truth is that most employees appear to want regular feedback. Real-time, continuous feedback encourages collaboration, gives development discussions more meaning and provides a process for giving and requesting targeted feedback.

The Mercer report highlights another interesting statistic – 97% of employees say they want to be rewarded and recognized for a wide range of contributions and not for financial or activity metrics alone. How do you achieve this without broadening and redefining the employee review? One way might be to capture real-time feedback that is linked to specific goals and competencies or projects from multiple sources and then tie it directly to the performance review. Again, giving employees what they want – when you can. And with access to continual assessment 24/7 via mobile phones, this is made even easier.

If it is true that the traditional annual review is dying, if not dead, then how or what you replace it with is hugely significant. More often than not, companies are still using or relying on these performance reviews to calculate employee benefits or bonuses and just rate overall value each employee’s contribution brings to the organization.

In large organizations, such calculations are a big deal.

And it will fall to HR to respond. How well HR responds may be determined by the technology at their disposal and if the team possesses the skills to utilize such technology. Best-in-class organizations that use the latest, most innovative HR technology for performance conversations, not only empower their workforce to grow, they give managers the tools required to award pay and promotions.

Want to learn more about what technology is available? Click here for a free demo!

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