If Performance Reviews are Dead, What Should You Do Instead?

Debate about the relevance and effectiveness of performance reviews has raged for years. The consensus seems to be – they don’t work.

Employees don’t like receiving them and bosses don’t like giving them – making them the most hated of management tools. So companies are either rethinking or scrapping performance reviews altogether.

Some companies like Adobe and Deloitte have implemented informal “check-ins” that take place throughout the year. Employees receive feedback on what they’re working on and reportedly healthier relationships are developed between the manager and their team – a win-win for everybody.

However, companies are not static and evaluation of performance can vary depending on what you are trying to measure and the needs of the business at any given time.

Using the same evaluation system year after year, even if it is less formal, is not the solution either. Varying the approach is often helpful in uncovering issues and finding hidden strengths and weaknesses.

So my view is that reviewing employee performance is important, but holding on to out-dated, cumbersome processes isn’t. Therefore I recommend:

  • More frequent and timely discussions to maintain employee focus and effectiveness
  • Listening to ideas and suggestions from your employees
  • Testing and refining processes to meet the needs of your business and employees
  • Varying the approach as the needs of the business and the employees change

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