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August 31, 2017

The annual review is dead. Long live continuous feedback.


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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!

January 21, 2014

Dreading your performance review? You’re not alone.


It’s the time of year again. HR just announced the kick-off for the annual performance review process. Managers and employees alike relentlessly complain about having to go through what they consider a tedious and unrewarding process, and without fail, they procrastinate to the very last minute to complete the task.

I, too, have dreaded this time of year. I’ve expressed my frustrations about the performance review process and I have been one of the people who put off my own self-evaluation and waited too long to get through my employees performance reviews.

However, over the years my attitude has changed. It was one event in particular a few years back when I suddenly realized that these dreaded performance reviews and goal evaluations have some really powerful results. Let me take you back…

Like many people in management, I was working with a small team and doing a lot of heavy lifting on my own.  Right after the performance review process had been completed, the group expanded. Responsibilities shifted and I had to change the way I worked and managed. The new team was a mix of people and personalities — some of whom I had worked with for a long time, some of whom were very experienced, but newer to the group, and others who were completely new to the team, industry and business environment. One day, as I sat in a team meeting discussing everyone’s work activities,  I was asked what I was working on and how people could help and get more involved. With the performance appraisals fresh on my mind, I suddenly realized I didn’t know enough (if anything!) about the competency levels of my team. It became painfully clear to me in that moment that I had no idea how to delegate certain work, who to collaborate with on projects, or even what we needed to plan for with the next set of goals, because I didn’t know my team’s strengths and weaknesses. 

I voiced this concern and we spent the rest of the day talking openly about what our core competencies were as a team, where people felt they had strengths, what goals they had and what they wanted to achieve in their careers. That was the day I stopped looking up the organizational ladder for guidance and support and started looking to my team to understand their point of view and ensure we were all on the same page. 

From that point on, the performance process was easy. My team members and I knew what we set out to achieve and we jointly maintained our goals with ongoing discussions. We managed updates in the system, and were able to quickly adjust our goals and objectives as the company shifted priorities. We invested time developing desired skills in real-time through work assignments and peer collaboration. We no longer made annual performance reviews about the technology or the process. It completely evolved and it became something we did often. We communicated and worked together to set and keep OUR goals and OUR career development aligned.

Looking back, I realize that, ultimately, employees want to feel they are part of something bigger, have a shared sense of purpose, and responsibility. And when you’re a manager of people, your priority should be to engage those people – coach and develop them, involve them in achieving the goals of the organization – from revenue targets, process improvements and innovation initiatives. We all know engaged employees perform better, in fact according to Gallup Business Journal, business with engaged employees outperformed others by and 21% in productivity. If you take the time to leverage your performance process as a tool to engage your people, you may find the same results.