Elevate Your Performance Review Process

Elevate Your Performance Review Process

My Performance Review: I want to be a “5.”

My leader was about to give me my annual performance review. Being a manager myself, I knew the drill. Each of the boxes my leader had filled out about me, I had already filled out for the members of my own team. And like each of them, I was hoping for at least one 5.

Months before that meeting, when I was being trained as a manager I was told to “never give out more than one 5 on a review.” Why? Because HR didn’t like it. A rating of 5 meant “Excellent” and giving out more than one would earn you a phone call from the corporate HR team. They would make you change all but one of them to 4 “Above Average.” Apparently, no one could be that excellent.

It was an arbitrary practice to say the least. Unfortunately, this is just one of countless examples that prove traditional performance reviews are part of a broken model, but there’s good news – these kinds of practices are quickly disappearing. In fact, the downfall of traditional performance reviews has been well documented. Have you noticed?

Growth > Traditional Performance Reviews

In the last decade employers such as General Electric, Accenture, Netflix and many more have eliminated their annual review process, replacing it with a more agile approach that provides employees with more diverse and timely feedback. The time consuming and often demotivational process of ranking employees and discussing performance just once a year is going away. But what exactly is it being replaced with? More importantly, what should it be replaced with?

Changes to traditional performance reviews have been making their way into organizations for years, taking the form of 360 peer reviews and more frequent qualitative feedback from supervisors. Those changes address some of the problems with the old model, but not the biggest problem.

Traditional performance reviews don’t help people grow, and right now employee growth is exactly what businesses need and employees want. Not only does employee development produce stronger professional outcomes – it creates a better work environment. As their employers adjust to market changes, today’s workers are being asked to do more with less. They want to work for employers that invest in their professional growth (and they are looking to leave employers who don’t). How can the traditional review process be transformed into something that actually results in growth for employees?

Conversations about performance need to be frequent, collaborative and focused on the future. They need to assess alignment to company core values and explore ways to use individual strengths, but to truly create growth for the employee and the business, they also need to be driven by the employees themselves.

A 365 Mindset of Performance Reviews

Download the humanworks8 365 Performance outline to learn how we help businesses transform their review process by giving people ownership over their own growth and development.