Traditional employee performance reviews typically takes place at the end of the fiscal year, and allow managers to provide an assessment of each team member. The conversation usually covers the employee's strengths, weaknesses, the results achieved, future goals, job security, promotions, and compensation.
Despite good intentions to improve performance, the traditional performance review can often be counter-productive.
Limitations of Traditional Performance Reviews
The annual performance review can cause stress and anxiety for employees. According to a Corporate Executive Board survey of 13,000 employees worldwide, 66% of employees have expressed performance reviews have interfered with their productivity.
Even worse, in companies where employees are rated or ranked against colleagues, the performance review process can actually be deterrent of collaboration.
Additionally, the long period of time between annual performance reviews can result in a lack of actionable feedback for employees. If an employee is under-performing on a project early in the year, they may not receive guidance on how to improve until many months after the project is complete.
As the old way doesn’t work anymore, a shift to a more qualitative approach that focuses on employee development is needed.
What are Employee Development Reviews
Employee development reviews are ongoing conversations between employees and managers. Based on the size, culture, or level of communication in an organization, these short one-on-one meetings can be in increments of every 7, 14, or 30 days.
The conversation can cover things that are going well, challenges being faced, demonstration of core values, what's being prioritized, revised goals, vision for career, and feedback for the manager.
Employee development reviews are all about consistent communication that help support employee progress and ensure they are not facing any roadblocks. It allows managers to stay informed about employee progress and provide more immediate feedback.
Around 70% of multinational companies have already implemented development reviews, as they provide a great deal of benefits for the employee, manager, and company.
Benefits of Development Reviews
Having more frequent conversations with your employees can have a large impact on their performance and ability to take risks. By creating an environment that supports candid and frequent discussions, challenges can be tackled sooner and with the right approach. Improved communication will lead to a better relationship between management and employees, which, while improving loyalty, will help them take part in the firm’s big picture goals.
A more motivated workforce
More frequent conversations can also allow for better goal setting and defining expectations. Employees will become increasingly aware of standard timeframes and quality of work expected, which can help them stay on track and aim to achieve more. This can also be a great platform to discuss frustrations and roadblocks, and overcome them with best practices.
Better feedback can unlock potential
One of the biggest advantages to more frequent touch points is the improved feedback. Employees can feel more confident with taking big risks when they are assured of their performance and decision making in shorter intervals.
By alleviating the pressure from a year-long wait to receive performance feedback (which in some cases, decides compensation) you can foster a culture of innovation and creativity, which will aid in the growth of your business in the long run.
There's also the opportunity for employees to provide more frequent feedback to managers that will help them be better bosses.
Retain star employees
Scheduled conversations can allow managers to see periodic improvements, and quickly identify high performers. Verbal appreciation as well as a real-time reward systems can then be implemented to help build their loyalty, and keep them motivated to keep growing with proper mentorship at your company.
Help poor performers make the cut
Managers also have the opportunity to identify employees who are struggling and focus their efforts on helping them succeed. Adobe implemented a model for employee development reviews, with a focus on coaching and monitoring struggling employees that ultimately led to fewer dismissals.
How to Implement Development Reviews
Like most new HR programs, it's critical to communicate the benefits and expectations with all stakeholders before launching. Make it easy for managers and employees to access information about employee development reviews, and how they can ask questions or provide feedback.
It doesn't hurt to have a champion from each group of stakeholders that can help to alleviate any incoming concerns.
Then, make sure your managers are then consistent with periodic reviews. It helps to have some sort of incentive or reward for them to demonstrate they executed on expectations.
Through our implementation of employee development reviews here at Guusto, we have found that bi-weekly check-ins with employees work wonders. Managers are able to stay informed while also not taking away too much of anyone's time. Below are some of the questions we cover in each of our employee development reviews:
- What is going well in your role?
- What obstacles are you experiencing?
- What are your top 3 priorities for the next month?
- What core values have you recently demonstrated?
- Have you recognized any of your colleagues for their performance?
- Any updates on career aspirations?
- How can I be a better manager for you?
These questions are a great way for managers to connect and align with employees.
The core values question is included to help inspire people to demonstrate company values in their day-to-day work (learn more about building core values that actually drive success).
The recognition question allows managers to gauge performance of other team members. It also provides an opportunity to discuss recognition the employee has received from their colleagues. This helps to create an environment where employees feel valued and perform better.
Want to learn more about using Guusto to allow peer-to-peer recognition that can be used by managers during employee development reviews?
Next week, we'll take a more forward looking approach to employee engagement and retention, with an article about 5 Steps to Implement Collaborative Career Plans with Employees. It will cover the following in detail:
- What is a Collaborative Career Plan
- Benefits of Collaborative Career Plans
- 5 Steps to Start Collaborative Career Plans
Hope you’ll join us for the discussion. Have something you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn.