Performance Reviews: Are They Still Relevant?
January 15, 2024
Written by Sandra Reder
Founder and President
Understanding the Value of Annual Performance Reviews
Historically annual performance reviews have played a crucial role in assessing the performance of employees and providing feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement. They’ve served as a formal evaluation process that helped organizations measure individual performance against organizational goals and objectives. Performance reviews also provided an opportunity for managers to recognize and reward high performers, identify training and development needs, and address any performance issues or concerns. They contributed to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and employee growth within the organization.
Many employers and HR experts believe that the days of one annual performance review are gone. Our team brings a wealth of experience along with current best practices when customizing performance management programs for our clients. Below are their thoughts on the current state of annual performance reviews.
Senior HR Consultant, Dawn Longshaw says “Performance reviews are part of a multifaceted approach; a combination of individual performance goals set to ‘manage up’ to the corporate goals (annual), career development goals (annual) and more frequent performance conversations – calendar driven coaching and event driven coaching.”
“I would suggest one formal semi-annual check-in to compliment the annual review. In my opinion, no matter what format companies are using, the key to a successful review or coaching session is, discipline from the managers to ensure goal alignment and to provide the framework for ongoing development. Adding the semi-annual check-in can support the managers commitment and success to the process.” Says Senior HR Consultant and Board Governance Specialist Janice Simpson.
Debbie Aarons, Senior HR and Leadership Development Consultant tells us that “Many companies are moving away from the traditional performance review approach. Having regular coaching conversations and goals that are both short term and long term can be beneficial. It does require more discipline from the manager and employees to make sure that regular conversations are held and that goals are updated.”
Leveraging the “Coach Approach”
In today’s workplace, performance reviews are evolving from traditional evaluations to more dynamic and collaborative processes. Organizations are embracing the “coach approach” to performance reviews, where managers focus on providing support, guidance, and development opportunities to their employees rather than just evaluating their performance.
This shift towards a coach approach involves ongoing dialogue and collaboration between managers and employees, where they work together to set goals, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and create development plans. By leveraging the coach approach, organizations can foster a positive and growth-oriented performance culture, where employees feel supported and empowered to reach their full potential.
As Senior HR Consultant and Workshop Facilitator Tammie Wessels says “Although the trend appears to be moving towards more of a “coach approach” to performance management, there still needs to be structure around it for it to work effectively. I believe a balance between the ongoing “coach approach” to performance management, combined with some form of structured performance review process is the key.”
Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
To maximize the impact of performance reviews, organizations must create a culture of continuous improvement. This involves encouraging open and honest communication, providing resources and opportunities for professional development, and promoting a growth mindset among employees.
Creating a culture of continuous improvement requires organizations to value and prioritize employee feedback, provide regular opportunities for skill development and training, and recognize and reward efforts towards improvement. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can ensure that performance reviews are not seen as a one-time event but as an ongoing process that contributes to the overall growth and success of the organization.
“Simplify the process so it is less onerous. Identify 3 goals for the year and report back on performance and identify 2 competencies you excel at and two that require improvements with an example for each. Ongoing coaching around these is expected.”, Laurie Caldi Senior HR Consultant provides a straightforward method to help clients achieve structural and trending performance review methods.