It’s Time to End the One and Done Performance Review

What’s the purpose of a performance review? If you think it’s about documenting a discussion in your HR system, then you’re missing the point. That’s why there’s a lot of buzz about getting rid of the annual performance review.

Not so fast.

The purpose of a performance evaluation is to align people behind the organization’s strategy, which is very important if you want to move the organization forward.

The problem with the annual review isn’t the review part – it’s the “annual” part. And managers who think the annual review is the only time they need to talk with employees are giving performance reviews a bad name.

Employees need ongoing coaching and development if they’re going to behave in a way that moves the organization forward. A conversation once a year about how an employee can improve and contribute to the organization is inadequate.

So, instead of getting rid of the annual review, why don’t we improve it?

Here’s what we know:

  • Employees need to be developed in the workforce
  • Employees don’t have enough coaching and development
  • One of the biggest issues most corporations face is coaching, mentoring, and developing employees

To bridge that gap, organizations need to develop a process that creates opportunity for dialogue to happen regularly. The challenge, then, is to create a formal checkpoint that encourages ongoing engagement between a manager and an employee. The discussions can’t be about whether the employee did what he or she was supposed to, nor can they be about salary. Every time a manager provides feedback to an employee, it needs to have a component of personal development and it must tie back to the organization’s strategy.

Some things a manager can think about are:

  • Are you delegating just to keep people busy? Or are you assigning projects that will help an employee develop new skills?
  • What do you focus on in conversations with employees – what they accomplished in the past, or their capabilities and skills that will allow them to contribute to the organization in the future?

This isn’t how most organizations approach performance and employee development and that’s why the annual performance review is getting a bad rap.

But the performance review is a unique opportunity to have an important dialogue with employees. It doesn’t need to be thrown out, it needs to be fixed.

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