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A Look at the New Employee Performance Review

Trivia question – what rolls around once a year, usually lasts an hour, and can send shivers up and down the spines of both employees and managers? You guessed it – employee performance reviews! While it’s not always the case, many employees find performance reviews stressful and unproductive – while many managers find them to be equally stressful and time-consuming to execute.

Globoforce, a provider of employee recognition solutions to companies like Hershey, jetBlue and Procter & Gamble share these statistics:

  • 53% of employees say performance reviews don’t motivate them to work harder
  • About half of employees feel their review was not accurate – leading to frustration and anxiety
  • Employees who feel their reviews are inaccurate are twice as likely to look for a new job
  • Instead of annual employee performance reviews, about 70% of employees prefer to get feedback on their performance ASAP

Looking at this data along with other trends that have been making waves in recent years, it’s safe to say that the old-school way of conducting employee reviews will soon be a thing of the past. For many companies, it already is.

Take IBM for example. In 2016, the global giant did away with their decade-old annual performance review system called Personal Business Commitments. Under the system, employees defined their annual goals in January, checked in with their manager half-way through the year, and received a final assessment and single performance score in December. Under IBM’s new system called Checkpoint, employees set shorter-term goals and manager feedback is shared more frequently. Employees are also evaluated across multiple criteria and aren’t given a single year-end score like they received under the old system.

Besides IBM, there are many other companies tossing the traditional annual review out the window and embracing the new face of employee performance reviews. Here are few of the most common characteristics we’re seeing as more companies roll out new review processes:

Employee Input
Some companies are asking for employee input when it comes to developing the next phase of employee performance reviews. IBM asked their 380,000 employees in 170 countries to share their ideas for a new performance management system. It’s a good idea to think about crowdsourcing employee feedback to help shape your organization’s new review system.

Short-Term Goals
Today’s new employee performance review systems put a big focus on having employees create short-term goals that can evolve over time as their work responsibilities, project scopes and interests change. This is critical in today’s fast-paced business environments, where needs are constantly shifting and flexibility is a must. A goal set in January may prove to be irrelevant just a few weeks or months later, so giving employees the opportunity to assess and adjust goals on an ongoing basis makes perfect sense.

More Frequent Feedback
Frequent feedback is highly desirable and more beneficial for many employees, especially for Millennials who make up a large percentage of today’s workforce. Most desire ongoing, informal feedback over a rigid performance review that can sometimes feel like a one-way street of communication with no opportunity to provide input. Many companies are establishing less formal weekly, monthly or quarterly check-in sessions between managers and employees that allows for greater feedback and constructive conversation.

Technology Assistance
Many companies are turning to technology to help them implement new employee performance review systems. And when it comes to your options, they truly seem endless. From web-based apps to performance management software, there are many tools available to help design, execute and maintain a successful employee performance review solution. If you’re overwhelmed by your choices, ask around and see if any favorites are top-of-mind with your industry colleagues.

Interested in reading more about the “performance management revolution”? Check out this great article from Harvard Business Review.