Performance Reviews Are the Worst — Here Are 4 Ways to Make Them Better
At some point, you’ve probably had that moment of panic while approaching a stoplight. You see the yellow light appear, and you have to make a split-second decision: Do I slow down and stop or hit the gas and race through before the light turns red?
Performance reviews are, in some ways, similar. As they appear on the horizon, a manager has to ask themself: Should I slow down and really evaluate each employee, or choose the faster — and less accurate — route of less personalized reviews?
This is more than a matter of individual preference; how managers approach performance reviews can have wide-reaching repercussions for organizations.
Everyone Hates Performance Reviews
Managers and employees alike tend to loathe performance reviews. Reviews are often awkward, stressful, and harmful to employee engagement. A survey from TINYpulse asked managers and employees about the problems with performance reviews. Here are the results:
- Too time-consuming: Managers (31 percent), Employees (17 percent)
- One-way conversation: Managers (12 percent), Employees (9 percent)
- Manager can be biased: Managers (9 percent), Employees (11 percent)
- Objectives are mismatched: Managers (9 percent), Employees (5 percent)
- Only focus on the negative: Managers (8 percent), Employees (9 percent)
- No follow-up given: Managers (8 percent), Employees (9 percent)
- No feedback given: Managers (7 percent), Employees (8 percent)
- Blindsided by results: Managers (4 percent), Employees (5 percent)
- Issues are discussed too late: Managers (4 percent), Employees (8 percent)
- Only discuss recent topics: Managers (4 percent), Employees (9 percent)
- Based on anecdotal memory: Managers (4 percent), Employees (8 percent)
Because managers and employees so dislike performance reviews, some organizations have decided t0 do away with reviews completely. Instead, these companies are experimenting with new methods to promote feedback between managers and employees.
Giving Performance Management the Green Light
Instead of reviews, why not try promoting feedback on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Seem like too much? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.
More and more companies are throwing out the old ways of evaluating in favor of a new approach that combines regular meetings, ongoing feedback, and other performance management techniques. This more focused, personalized approach to performance management has helped improve company culture, employee engagement, and employee-manager relationships.
Ready to get your performance management process moving efficiently and effectively? Give it the green light with these four techniques:
1. Use Microfeedback
Rather than a yearly in-depth performance review, “microfeedback” refers to quick, regular performance conversations between employees and managers. Using microfeedback can help managers set better expectations for employee performance. These regular conversations also make it easier to intervene in performance problems before it is too late.
2. Set Aside Some Time
You say you’re too busy for microfeedback, but are you really too busy to help improve your employees and, by extension, your company overall?
When you set aside time every week to offer feedback to employees, you’re likely to see their performance improve. In fact, 78 percent of employees said being recognized helps them get motivated. When you show employees you genuinely care about their performance, they’ll be willing to put in more work.
3. Grab Your Pen and Paper
When having conversations with employees, take notes. Jot down the thoughts, ideas, feedback, and goals that develop during performance conversations — both formal and informal. Don’t try to memorize it all — you’ll inevitably forget critical information if you try to keep it all in your head.
4. Coach Your Team
A coach doesn’t hold one practice and assume the the team is set for the season. So it goes with being a manager and giving feedback. Giving continuous feedback helps your employees stay on track with goals and expectations. It also helps you keep track of your own work. As a manager, you have a lot of the answers, and your team needs your input and evaluation consistently. Give a little feedback, and watch your team perform.
A version of this article originally appeared on the iRevü blog.
Michael Heller is the CEO and founder of iRevü.