Contributed by Chiara Toselli, head of marketing and sales for Pavestep, a performance management solution that helps businesses effectively manage their talent.
We’re approaching that dreaded time of year: performance review season.
For many companies, it’s the one time a year that employee performance is examined and evaluated.
People on both sides of the desk loathe annual performance reviews. For managers, the process feels like a giant waste of time, and is often seen as a check-the-box exercise. For employees, the majority view performance reviews as unfair and plagued with biases.
Most of us understand why people feel this way—annual reviews are grossly inaccurate. If people can’t remember what they had for lunch last Monday, how can a manager remember how someone has performed for an entire year? Short answer, they can’t!
To clarify, I don’t think annual performance reviews should be eliminated. In fact, they can be an appropriate time to address compensation, have formal career development planning conversations, or discuss ratings. However, if performance reviews are the sole measure of how your organization evaluates and develops talent, then it’s time to switch to a more modern approach and focus on feedback that improves performance and motivates employees.
Here are five ways to accomplish that:
1. Implement more continuous feedback
Employees want more feedback. This is particularly true for younger cohorts who want constant and consistent development and coaching. Teams should develop a cadence of feedback that makes sense to your company culture—whether that’s on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Over time, you’ll create a culture of feedback in which giving and receiving feedback will become second nature to employees.
2. Make feedback check-ins a two-way conversation
Feedback is more effective if there’s input from both parties involved. Remember: You want a check-in to be a conversation, not a monologue. Managers should ask employees about any roadblocks in current projects. Managers should also ask the employee how they (themselves) are doing as a leader and ask if they can be more helpful in any way.
3. Incorporate company core values into feedback
Employees should be living by company core values every day, yet half of employees don’t know what your company values are. Company values shouldn’t just live in the employee handbook and only be addressed once a year during reviews. Your company values make up a vital part of company culture, and they should be incorporated into feedback conversations.
4. Document feedback conversations
If the frequency of feedback increases, make sure to document it. A robust continuous feedback software will help employees document feedback, making it easier to follow up. Moreover, such software solutions incorporate people analytics which highlight employees’ strengths and weaknesses, empowering leadership to make data-driven talent and training decisions.
5. Separate compensation discussions from feedback conversations
If you want employees to focus on feedback, consider separating compensation and ratings (if applicable) discussions from feedback conversations. You want employees to see feedback as an opportunity for improvement, not a stress-inducing event.
Talent is one of the most important assets your organization has. It’s time to upgrade from archaic performance management systems to a solution that better equips your modern workforce to thrive.