Are Performance Reviews a Thing of the Past?

Ah, the annual performance review….often viewed as an opportunity to go over an entire year’s work in the span of a relatively short amount of time to plan goals for the upcoming year. Do you remember everything you did over the course of twelve months? You may remember the extreme highs and lows, the projects you feel you did excellent work on and the opportunities you missed, but what about everything in between that also accounts for your work habits?

As the workplace continues to change with the times, companies have begun to view the concept of the formal performance review as one that definitely needs serious updating.

  • The workforce has changed. A number of companies use contractors to fill their needs. As such, the idea of an annual performance review makes little sense; more consistent feedback will have more of an impact. Instead, companies have begun to enact more project-based reviews, which helps any contractor who may get renewed at that same company or at their next assignment.
  • They’re unclear. Most workers don’t understand how superiors measure their performance relative to that of their peers, nor does the feedback lead to a more effective performance much of the time. And over half of employees in one survey by employee engagement and communications company GuideSpark didn’t feel their company’s goal-setting process helped them prioritize their work. If companies want to help employees improve their performance and work toward a common goal, the latter group needs to know, beyond the basics, what the measurement consists of. And that measurement can’t always be calibrated in numbers; for certain industries, it may also include client relationships, which is admittedly difficult to define.
  • They don’t effectively improve performance. Both employers and employees see the traditional performance review as a time suck, and the bottom line is that, in general, they don’t actually affect overall performance. In fact, based on that same GuideSpark survey, 89 percent of employees wanted direct performance feedback from their managers and the same percentage didn’t want feedback as a surprise during a performance review. The rate of feedback has changed. When considering feedback for an employee, it’s most effective when it occurs in something close to real time — if a manager sees a negative pattern forming in an employee’s approach to work, addressing it early on will keep it from becoming a major problem.
  • What does work? Employees work best when they know what the company expects of them. Clearly stated performance goals and criteria help them know what to focus on — as does regular (e.g., monthly, project-based), individualized feedback from managers and other superiors. If you build a house, you want to know early on if the foundation and the basic structure have problems before you continue adding everything else.

If employees “perform” on average 261 days a year, consider reviewing them numerous times during those days. To improve your review process for the future, reach out to the Thousand Oaks staffing professionals at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks today!