A big sigh can be quietly heard when you think of traditional performance reviews. All the preparation, anticipation, and communication can be overwhelming for everyone involved. For managers, it takes a large amount of time and groundwork to prepare for it. For employees, it means a detailed review of past work performance, with a focus on key areas of success and improvement, and, quite honestly, a bit of apprehension.
For years, companies have been considering other options to the once a year performance review. As expected, innovative companies like, Adobe, Dell, IBM, General Electric, and Accenture are moving towards a newer approach to employee assessments.
Navigating away from Traditional Performance Reviews
One reason for driving this change is that annual reviews are limiting. They detail past performance results instead of focusing on performance feedback that can improve employees professional and development through the year, enabling them to look forward.
If you think about it, performance and development are a continuous journey, not one-time events. Performance reviews hold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and preparing talent for the future, both of which are critical for organizations’ long-term survival.[i] According to Harvard Business Review, the following are three business reasons to toss out the traditional performance reviews: [ii]
Reason 1: People Development – Companies are focused more than ever on their talent management strategies. Most employees are motivated by the potential for learning and advancement. Frequent check-ins from managers help them to do a better job of coaching and allow employees to process and apply the guidance more effectively, helping them meet professional goals.
Reason 2: Agility – Innovation is constantly driving change in companies. To stay competitive, companies are adapting and changing, which requires employees to do the same. This means new skills and evolving responsibilities are being demanded by employees in shorter time periods. While companies are transforming, their employees need to be just as agile. Employees’ goals and responsibilities need to adjust to more frequent collaboration than once a year to support growth and development.
Reason 3: Teamwork – Departments are working more closely together to drive rapid change and progress in an organization. Traditional performance reviews are individual-based, so tracking communications, results, and progress in a team environment is not effective.
Real-Time Transparent Feedback
Companies are replacing annual reviews between managers and employees with frequent, real-time feedback, ongoing check-ins, and behavior modeling to drive the new era of employee performance and engagement.
Managers are using effective coaching and management tactics to develop their talent as part of the company’s long-term human capital management strategy. The goal is to improve employee performance and enhance professional development.
Performance goals need to be set with every employee. The difference with this new approach is how you deliver feedback. In this case, frequent conversations are designed to encourage and foster behavioral change based on employees’ strengths. The ongoing support by managers is critical to every step of an employee’s professional development journey.