A performance review is an important opportunity to evaluate work performance, provide feedback, identify strengths and weaknesses, and set job-related goals including skills and career development. Most businesses conduct formal reviews, or performance appraisals, of employees annually.

A recent survey conducted by Korn Ferry found that while 87 percent of professionals have an annual performance review with their manager, 96 percent believe that real-time feedback and ongoing discussions are more effective. Find out more about successful performance review processes and why more companies are using casual check-ins and continuous feedback to improve employee engagement and performance.

Purpose of performance appraisals

It’s important to let employees know what’s expected of them and to evaluate and measure their progress. But what is performance appraisal process really doing? Unfortunately, 95 percent of managers aren’t satisfied with formal performance appraisals and think they are inaccurate. Employees don’t like performance reviews either citing that the process is disrespectful, untimely, and unmotivating. Common employee complaints about the annual performance review process include its inability to adequately reward top talent or deal with underachieving staff.

That’s why more companies are ditching the more formal annual review processes in favor of continuous feedback. For example, Adobe has adopted quarterly check-ins to keep conversations about expectations and employee performance ongoing and less intimidating. This strategy allows for more open and honest discussion and the ability to make adjustments on the fly.

Additionally, the most successful organizations effectively use performance reviews to:

  • Evaluate progress toward reaching previously set goals.

  • Recognize accomplishments and reward top talent.

  • Provide coaching to employees who aren’t meeting expectations.

  • Set new goals.

  • Increase engagement.

Four ways to improve the performance review

The most successful organizations are using more frequent check-ins to improve the effectiveness of employee performance appraisals. Follow performance review tips and best practices to best communicate expectations and achieve success. According to Robert Half International, here are four ways you can improve the effectiveness of your performance review processes:

  1. Tie performance to overall company goals.

    Always explain how an employee’s performance ties back to your organization as a whole. The article on Robert Half’s website notes, “When employees understand that the quality of their work will affect the company’s mission, they’re more likely to feel valued, and as a result, motivated to improve.

  2. Use the 360-degree feedback approach.

    Your employees aren’t working in a vacuum. Most likely, they are interacting with several departments and collaborating with different teams. That’s why many organizations use the 360-degree feedback approach to gather insight and ratings from others who regularly work with the employee who is being reviewed.

  3. Be supportive.

    It’s always important to treat employees with respect; that goes for when you’re giving criticism as well. Be truthful about an employee’s performance, but be sure to explain how your company will be there for them to help them improve. For example, offer training, coaching, or mentorship options to help that employee on their path to improvement.

  4. Make the performance review more casual.

    Sometimes employees feel intimidated if they think their job is at stake or simply don’t feel comfortable talking to their manager. That’s why it’s important to conduct more frequent check-ins that feel more like conversations. You could also try meeting in a different location such as a café to put the employee’s mind at ease.

Deliver continuous, timely feedback

Learn how to turn your formal performance review into ongoing strategic performance management. Asure Software consultants are an excellent resource to help you identify your greatest HR needs and maximize your talent potential.

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