Move your Performance Management system towards more frequent performance reviews

Do people in your organisation look forward to the Performance Reviews or is it greeted with a groan of dismay from over stretched managers and staff.  I have personal experience of both these reactions where employees and staff eagerly looking forward to the Performance Review. I have also joined in the collective groan when annual Performance Review time rolled around again

Why such different experiences?

A number of points immediately spring to mind:

  • Comprehensive training for both managers and staff as to how the Performance Management system works and what to expect at the review was given.
  • The Performance Management system was easy to use and understand.
  • Senior Managements fully supported and participated in the review process.
  • The company had clearly defined company goals and I as a manager could cascade easily to my staff’s objectives.

There is one other factor which at first view may seem to be contradictory. The frequency of the reviews.

You might react by saying OMG that this is just more work but in fact it is a key to making Performance Management work.

Consider the dreaded annual review. Both you and you staff may not have looked at your objectives for some considerable time. The objectives which made so much sense 12 months ago now seem to be unimportant, irrelevant and perhaps ill-defined but as they are the annual objectives the Performance must be measured in relation to them.

Consider also is this review mostly focused on what went well or ill in the last year or does it fairly split the time available between reviewing the last year and looking forward to the next years objectives. My experience especially, when the annual review and salary review are linked, most of the time will be spent with the employee boosting and promoting their past performance in order to get the best possible salary increase. (see “On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B” Stephen Kerr)

So what helps us get to a performance review process which engages both Managers and staff?

What is it we are hoping to achieve and how should we go about getting the best possible return on the resources we invest in Performance Management?

Performance is a communications process where a manager will meet with a staff member to discuss their performance and tell them how well or otherwise they have done. This is an opportunity to communicate the company’s overall goals, and perhaps the department goals, then agree specific individual objectives with the employee. All good stuff so far.

More frequent reviews allow for each individual objective to be relevant and has some urgency associated with it. Research and experience suggests that quarterly reviews are most effective and give a good balance between time and resources versus return on investment.

A further advantage of the more frequent performance reviews is that they are quicker to carry out, more focused on the future and waste less time looking backwards. They can also address the issue of out of date or irrelevant objective and can refocus quickly on a changing business environment. These also allow for a decoupling of the direct relationship between performance and reward.

At Talentevo we provide a cloud based performance solution that supports more frequent performance reviews that captures the ongoing communication and engagement between managers and employees.

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