Employees desire feedback. In fact, 96% say that regular feedback is preferred to infrequent, formally-structured reviews. Sitting down only once or twice a year to discuss goals, behavior, career advancements, etc. isn’t effective for performance management, nor is it beneficial to either the manager or the employee. Instead, establishing a regular performance and feedback process has proven to be better at keeping employees engaged and building productive, thriving teams.
Performance Management Is Evolving
The conversation around performance management is shifting. What used to be an annual occasion for providing constructive feedback, determining pay, and establishing accountability, has now become an opportunity for companies to re-examine what constitutes optimal performance management strategy. Today, the number one question organizations ask when taking a more in-depth look at their performance management system is, “Why are we doing this?” If annual performance reviews aren’t helping you get the most out of your people or increasing their engagement, then it’s not the best system for determining pay and promotion, either.
While 83% of workers would like regular feedback — positive or negative — many have to wait for formal reviews before a discussion takes place. By then, enough time has passed that the feedback is unlikely to be effective or even remembered properly by either party. And, formal reviews are an expensive process (as much as $2.4 million to $35 million a year in working hours) with minimal ROI. So, should businesses do away with them altogether? How do you replace or supplement them with something that’s cost-effective and productive?When was the last time you received valuable feedback? If it was at your annual review, it’s time for your company to discover continuous #PerformanceManagement. Don’t worry! @ClearCompany can show them the way:
Re-Examining What’s Effective
A key aspect of performance management is the discussion and benchmarking of future goals and the tasks necessary to achieve them, but almost a third of employees say they don’t have these conversations with their bosses. If employees aren’t receiving the kind of feedback necessary to improve their performance, businesses can’t expect to see progress in either their personnel or organizational goals.
What’s going wrong
- Managers aren’t giving regular feedback.Often managers miss opportunities to show praise or coach in-the-moment, and by the time they get around to these items at an annual review, they’re too far in the past. Bringing up an event from 8 months ago is too far removed to carry any weight in performance discussions and can feel like a second thought dug up for the sake of argument — for better or worse.
The people providing the feedback don’t actually manage the individual. t’s not uncommon for reviews to be given by the HR department or upper management — people in supervisory roles who aren’t actually working day-to-day with the individual receiving the review. If the person giving feedback doesn’t typically interact with the employee, the feedback is either coming second-hand or is merely a perception held from a bird’s-eye view. Feedback given in this manner is not usually accurate, nor productive.
- Managers don’t know how to evaluate performance.Often, managers never receive training on how to assess performance, give feedback, or charter a developmental plan. This can lead to an unnatural conversation in which employees feel like they are talking to a completely different person than the one who works along with them every day, and the interaction can be stunted.
- You’re trying to squeeze too much into one meeting. Annual performance reviews can have a jam-packed agenda. Trying to cover a full year of performance into one conversation means there’s a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. This leads to important topics getting merely a cursory discussion, and critical talking points can slip through the cracks.
What to do instead
- Address problems and praise in real-time. Don’t let opportunities for performance management get passed over for the sake of protocol. Timely recognition for a job well done shows your employees that you’re keyed in, and improves engagement. Conversely, stepping in when there’s a coaching moment provides practical training opportunities they can apply immediately to their work.
- Have immediate supervisors provide moment-to-moment coaching.Eliminating annual reviews all together doesn’t have to be the only answer, but when it comes to feedback regarding specific, day-to-day performance, it’s best to have immediate supervisors or team leaders who work daily with the employee to deliver the message. Not only do they have an existing rapport, but someone who is part of the team has a better understanding of how the topic directly affects everyone involved as well as greater business goals.
- Have a feedback training program in place. It’s critical that your managers know how to deliver feedback in a productive way and feel comfortable doing so. Open communication and two-way conversations are an important part of building relationships between managers and employees, so training your management in ways to deliver feedback, suggest improvements, and facilitate input is a core aspect of your review process.
Bonus Content: Get the Review Conversation Process Every Manager Should Follow
- Focus only on the major points in formal reviews. There’s still a place for annual reviews, but the focus should be reframed. Instead of performance reviews, make the conversation about career goals as they fit into business goals. What does the employee want, how can they get there, and what does that path look like? Focus on more long term, high-level goals than specific performance measures that are better addressed in real-time.
By implementing sound performance management systems, employees can expect to go further in-depth into their daily performance, and open the conversation for discussion of topics like compensation, advancement, and other career goals. Plus, workers will be able to contribute their ideas more frequently and hopefully see them come to fruition. The feedback they receive will be more applicable to their immediate work, and employees will finally receive the steps they need to improve. All of these benefits combined will help employers get the most out of their employees and workers to engage with an organization on a deeper level.
Complete with continuous performance tracking, real-time feedback, and much more, ClearCompany’s Performance Management system is there to help you transition into modern performance reviews. Don’t miss out on another employee shout out! See how ClearCompany can help you today with a free demo.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.