The Evolution Of The Employee Performance Review

By David Mizne

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say what most of you are probably thinking, performance reviews suck. I used to get an email from my manager once a year asking me what I did over the past twelve months, how I think I performed, and what were my strengths and weaknesses. So instead of working that day, I spent hours carefully crafting a document that painted me in the best light possible.

Sound familiar? That is the standard employee performance review. It was invented by cavemen to see how other cavemen were doing with their wheels. The only problem is that many companies are still using this outdated process.

Well I am happy to report that there is a better way. Some businesses are soliciting regular employee feedback and using that information to support employees on a daily or weekly basis. So when review time rolls around, performance has been recorded and guided towards continuous improvement.

For your reading pleasure, here are four fantastic articles from around the web on the subject of employee performance:

1. Performance Appraisal Is Not Performance Management

By Janel P. Phillips 

Both employees and their bosses loathe annual reviews, so why not try an employee management plan? This way, everyone knows the overall company vision and how they fit into it. Then use performance management software to ensure that the goals that you agreed to at the beginning of the year are still relevant, or are on track for completion. Round out the plan with consistent, honest communication to maintain a positive work environment, retain employees, and ensure growth and productivity.

2. 9 Ways To Manage Underperforming Employees

By Abigail Phillips

Disengaged employees are not just a productivity issue, they can cause poor morale across the entire organization. Phillips offers a collaborative approach to re-engaging floundering employees, and suggests using two-way communication to diagnose and improve the situation.

Giving and receiving feedback is paramount and comes in many forms; discovering what makes employees tick, creating joint performance goals, and recognizing and rewarding improvement.

Bonus: Read why and how companies are rethinking their annual performance review process. Complete with stats, case studies and links to resources.

3. DOD Hashing Out New Civilian Performance Appraisal System

By Andy Medici

When the Feds develop an employee review process that is more cutting edge than yours, you know that it’s time to re-evaluate. Congress has ordered the Department of Defense to develop and institute a new system to rate performance in a way that is “fair, credible, and transparent.” What is most impressive is that the DOD is creating groups to communicate on the appraisal throughout the year, not just at year’s end. The system will also give employees a voice by taking their feedback and concerns into account.

4. 31 Things You Should Never Say During A Performance Review

By Jacquelyn Smith

Employees can easily get defensive and resent the review process, but it is beneficial for them to listen and demonstrate that they are open to the growth opportunities that come from receiving honest feedback. Smith highlights 31 phrases that often come up for employees while their past performance is being scrutinized. She strongly urges people not to utter the following:

“I’m going to find another job unless…”

“If you think I’m bad, you should see…”

“You’re wrong” or “Are you kidding me?”

“I’m not paid to…”

No matter which side of the process you are on, the annual performance review has value for both talent and management. But taken by themselves, reviews are quite frustrating and not an accurate reflection of actual performance over a 12-month span.

Read More: See how other companies are revising or replacing their annual performance review.

Regularly asking employees questions gives employers detailed information about employee accomplishments and challenges that can be acted upon in time to make a difference. This info provides an objective historical record of performance that is complete, comprehensive, and qualitative.

I’m not suggesting that you reinvent the wheel, just use more of them more often to move your business forward at a much faster pace.

David Mizne, Content Manager at 15Five interviews some of the most brilliant minds in business and reports on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to employee engagement. 15Five is a SaaS company with a powerful and simple solution that gathers critical insights from employees in minutes each week, enabling informed management to get the visibility they need to boost engagement and drive alignment across their entire team.

Image Credit: Hiking Artist

Are you still using the same old annual employee performance review process or have you discovered something better? Tell us about it below!


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