Time to Ditch Performance Reviews?

Many businesses either have or are ready to let this process go - business structures have changed and there is now a need to be agile. A shortage of skilled talent has turned the focus to coaching, creating employee engagement and continuous development.
So what has changed to make performance reviews fall out of favour?

* The same form and format is used every year. No-one has asked if this working for the business. Off
   the shelf templates don’t always work; not everyone wants to measure the same objectives.

* The process of employee reviews becomes more important than the actual outcome. What do
  employees want out of there reviews? Managers are going through the process because they have to.

* Giving people a numerical rating forces managers to fit people into scales. Some people love to
  quantify and analyse almost everything. Numerical performance rating systems don’t take into account
  the fast paced business environment. 12 month goals may not work, some employees need goal cycles
  of one month.

* Mixing remuneration with performance discussions – a pay review should be a separate discussion.

* Using the process as a disciplinary session.

* Being too vague – eg “you might try a little harder; you tend to be a little lazy”.

* Spending too much time looking in the rear vision mirror instead of focusing on the future.

* No two-way input – sometimes employees are given a worksheet to fill in - how they feel the job is
  going, their performance, any improvements they would like to suggest and future aspirations - the
  review centres around the employee’s comments. Or their manager has completed the form and speaks
  to it, giving no real opportunity to discuss performance or amend the review form.

* Emphasis placed on the employee to improve in the job. No assistance from their manager/supervisor
  on how they will provide support (mentoring/coaching) or formal, measurable goals).

It has been said often that the performance process is something most people dread. Performance reviews are hard and they are only successful when done right. By moving the mindset from “the process is for the business’s benefit” to “it is for the employees benefit” will reap the rewards for both. By increasing skill levels, employees will in the end flow on to assist in your business to success.

Employee feedback should be on a regular basis (daily, weekly) and separate from discussions around potential development. To keep talent in your business, employers need to ensure their employees know that they can grow in the business. It is not always about promotion but skill, training and development opportunities.

Small businesses in particular have the flexibility to be more creative with their employee review process. Throw away the template review form that may have no relevance, and make the process simple but meaningful.

Like driving, spending time looking forward through the front windscreen has more advantages of getting you to your destination than looking through the rear vision mirror.

Paddy Battersby : Battersby HR Consulting : Phone 09 838 6338 : paddy@battersbyhr.com : www.battersbyhr.com

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