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Is an Annual Review Enough?

Is an Annual Review Enough?

A physical exam.
Replacing the batteries in your smoke detector.
Doing your taxes.
A really thorough Spring-cleaning.

While it may be sufficient to undertake these various things once a year, a performance review that is done annually is an out-of-date practice and less than an optimal way for business owners to retain and grow their employees. Right now, employers are dealing with record low unemployment rates where the ability to identify and hold onto excellent employees may be difficult, and practices that worked in the past may simply no longer be effective.

Here’s why:

  • By not providing employees with more frequent feedback, any negative aspects of their performance can turn into patterned behavior and hence become more difficult to correct.
  • Today’s work environment is fast and Millennials and Gen Z workers consider ongoing training and career advancement highly desirable. This new generation of employees is impatient and wants opportunities on a real-time basis.
  • Employees don’t want to wait a year for recognition and may leave the company if they feel under-appreciated and ignored.

Many business owners have moved from providing annual performance reviews to Performance Management Systems that include more frequent assessments. These owners find that the time spent in frequent reviews serves to motivate employees, help ensure optimum performance and are more effective in identifying top performers, as well as preparing employees for more rapid career advancement.

The most effective ways to make this switch are to:

1.  Obtain buy-in from Senior Management and the HR Department
Performance reviews play an important role in helping you to obtain and retain top talent and therefore making any sort of change to the performance assessment structure in your company should be carefully reviewed by senior management and your HR team to ensure that everyone is in sync with this significant change.

2.  Develop performance management criteria appropriate for frequent reviews
More frequent reviews may call for the inclusion of KPIs (key performance indicators) different from those that have been previously used in your annual reviews. Frequent reviews will allow you to assess and measure variables that have a direct impact on your bottom line and point to gaps that can lead to potential dips in productivity and revenue.

3.  Train Managers and Supervisors on techniques to deliver “change behavior” coaching sessions
More frequent reviews will serve to uncover deficiencies that can be corrected with skills specific coaching. Managers and Supervisors should be trained on how to deliver these skills sessions as well as how to provide qualitative feedback in a supportive and non-confrontational manner.
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Basing raises and promotions on annual reviews have become increasingly ineffective in today’s current work environment.  With the high cost of recruiting and hiring it is sensible to look at alternative programs that may better help to motivate and grow the skills of your existing employees.


June 4, 2019