Yearly performance evaluations just might be heading out the door, according to a recent WorkHuman Analytics & Research Institute Survey. Findings reveal that these appraisals are less than effective and used less often. Based on select findings, 55 percent of employees responded that yearly evaluations don’t help them become better in their role. Almost as many, 53 percent, indicated that annual reviews recognize an employee’s complete workload. The survey also found that only 54 percent of businesses used annual reviews in 2019, compared to 82 percent of workers saying their employer used annual reviews in 2016.
According to Gallup, only 14 percent of workers responded positively that performance reviews motivated them to get better at their skill set. It also found that among businesses with 10,000 workers, time taken for performance evaluations reduced employee productivity by at least $2.4 million and up to $35 million. It also found that one-third of workers’ output and quality declined.
When it comes to traditional performance reviews, many employees believe they are run by managers with little regard for any employee input whatsoever. However, there are other ways to evaluate an employee: the worker can evaluate themselves; their co-workers can appraise them; or a combination of a self-, peer- and manager-focused assessment can be used.
As Harvard Business Review explains, since traditional performance reviews are mutually stressful for managers and their subordinates, there are a few recommendations to attempt to make it a more productive experience.
The first recommendation is to set initial, mutual expectations for the manager and employee. When the year begins, the business’ performance requirements should be detailed for the employee so that expectations are clear. By setting performance objectives with the employee, the manager and business will ensure that employees are answerable for their performance.
The second step is to prepare for the in-person evaluation as it gets closer to the meeting. Two weeks before the in-person evaluation, HBR recommends that workers and managers review their past accomplishments – good, bad, etc. Managers could also ask for objective co-workers’ assessments of the employee’s work to garner different perspectives on their performance.
Before a face-to-face meeting, give the employee the assessment to let them internalize it and let their emotions settle before the discussion. From there, the atmosphere should be established by the manager. When it comes to competent, high performers, managers should keep the reviews on the workers’ accomplishments and progression at the company, along with concerns they might have in their role. For poor performers, putting the focus on accountability and improved results is the recommended route.
Asking employees what’s working and what’s not working can be helpful for both manager and employee. It’s also recommended to point out what specific actions employees should take to keep improving, rather than using generalities.
Based on the evolution of how and where work is being conducted, it seems that the annual performance review needs to be re-evaluated and updated. Only time will tell how it will change, but based on what’s not working, it will evolve as the workplace moves deeper into the 21st century.