Workers and bosses can disagree about a lot of things these days – work from home,”calm downEven what to wear to the office—but there’s one thing everyone can get behind: Performance reviews stink.
First developed by the US military in World War I, the formal evaluation system was adopted in subsequent decades by influential companies, including the General Electric Company, to weed out poor performers. They have become universal—and universally despised. A time-consuming, backward-looking, box-ticking process, they often reveal more about the rater than the person being rated.
In search of a better way to manage employees, Adobe Inc. And some large companies, including Accenture, have skipped formal annual reviews in recent years. The pandemic helped accelerate the move: Fifteen percent of organizations suspended performance ratings as the number of COVID-19 cases rose, according to WorldatWorkA non-profit organization that provides education for human resource professionals.
How do companies measure performance?
Companies that do this earn renown at first, but the good vibes can fade. Employees who hear from their bosses less often are left in the dark about the appropriateness of pay and promotions. Consultant Gartner Inc. found that some companies have dropped reviews and brought them back—in fact, 90 percent of organizations still conduct formal annual evaluations. HR experts say this underscores the importance of replacing them with other strategies to better support employees. Here are six:
Regular and timely discussions. There should be a conversation between a manager and a worker right after a project is completed, or at least every quarter. Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute, says the ideal frequency for check-ins is every 11 days. “Performance happens in the moment,” he says. According to WorldatWork, about 60 percent of organizations now check-in frequently, up from 42 percent in 2016.
Focus on how, not what. According to Gartner, only 4 percent of HR leaders say performance reviews accurately assess employee performance. The discussion should be more focused on how people do things – their skills, attitudes and competencies – rather than what they have done, which inevitably turns into rote tasks and goals.
Train managers to have meaningful conversations. A landmark study in 2000 showed that about two-thirds of the variation in employee ratings was due to the characteristics of the individual evaluators rather than the employee’s actual performance. Surveys show that this arbitrariness often hurts people of color the most. Software platforms such as BambooHR and Workday, which help companies monitor employee progress and performance, are popular tools for reminding managers to have ongoing discussions with employees and to support them in doing so have emerged. These should be done regularly and include coaching, comments on recent work and setting expectations for the coming weeks.
Take advice from colleagues. Involving an individual’s coworkers in performance appraisals can be especially helpful in today’s hybrid offices, where managers have less visibility into employee work patterns. And there’s room for improvement in this area: According to a 2021 Gartner survey of HR leaders, evaluations in only one-quarter of organizations include a worker’s teammate. There are pitfalls to avoid, Buckingham says: Some workers may try to undermine their peers, turning the workplace into a surveillance state. Unless a company has a fairly open and honest culture, the approach isn’t appropriate, says Amy Sung, a human resources consultant at workplace consultant Willis Towers Watson who specializes in performance management.
Let the employee reflect. Some organizations have replaced packed conference-room chats with quarterly self-reflections by employees on their performance, which managers can then comment on. This can help reduce the time it takes to write a traditional appraisal, which can really add up. Professional services giant Deloitte once found that ratings wasted nearly 2 million hours of its employees’ time annually.
Look forward, not backward. Even the concept of feedback is changing: Sung says some of her clients like to provide a “feed-ahead,” which links the performance discussion directly to the employee’s own development. That way, reviews become more effective in identifying and developing your best ones, not just determining how much of the annual bonus pie you get.
However, the challenge with these approaches is that they require a reservoir of trust between owners and workers, which eroded during the pandemic amid heated debate over vaccine mandates, return-to-office policies and productivity monitoring. Is. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey by the public relations firm, nearly two in three adults say they are concerned that business leaders are deliberately trying to mislead people, up seven percentage points from last year. Employee engagement, as measured by pollster Gallup, declined for the first time in a decade last year, and continues to decline this year, with people leaving their jobs or simply going through the motions at work.
“Trust is the thing,” Buckingham says. annual performance review” means you wait a full year to be told you’ve been rated two [out of five], Which undermines trust. If companies want to improve performance, they should ask, “What can we do to get people to trust us?”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)