In a recent article in The Washington Post, several major firms reported they were either eliminating or drastically revising their annual performance reviews. While the cheers from employees and managers might be deafening, the HR world is no doubt shuddering. How will we evaluate performance and determine salary adjustments and promotions?
But the subtle distinction here is that while some firms (such as Accenture and Deloitte) are eschewing the “annual” part of the performance review, they are actually ramping up the ongoing review for employees. In large international consulting firms such as these, the change makes sense. Employees are constantly evaluated by their clients, project team members and project leaders. By using these timely evaluations, they are able to quickly give feedback to their employees and foster the developmental dialog in a “real time” manner rather than waiting for the “annual” review process.
Giving timely feedback to employees about their performance and overall career path is invaluable. One of the biggest complaints that we see coming from employee surveys of small businesses is the lack of feedback from the managers. Employees want to know how they are doing and the lack of timely feedback and good dialog with their manager can cause even more long term issues and overall job dissatisfaction. Annual Performance Reviews were initially implemented to force dialog between an employee and their supervisor “at least once a year.”
Perhaps Accenture’s CEO Pierre Nanterme’s recent interview with the Washington Post will help clarify this new approach to performance appraisals.
“And for the millennium generation, it’s not the way they want to be recognized nor the way they want to be measured. If you put this new generation in the box of the performance management we’ve used the last 30 years, you lose them. We’re done with the famous annual performance review, where once a year I’m going to share with you what I think about you. That doesn’t make any sense.
Performance is an ongoing activity. It’s every day, after any client interaction or business interaction or corporate interaction. It’s much more fluid. People want to know on an ongoing basis, am I doing right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing? Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback. Now it’s all about instant performance management.” (As reported by Lillian Cunningham in The Washington Post, July 25, 2015)
In evaluating whether this change makes sense in your organization, consider these essentials:
- Preparation is key to ensure the employee feels valued.
- Outline the objective of the discussion to put the employee at ease and let them know what to expect.
- Encourage candid discussion.
- Be clear where the employee stands in regard to future growth, salary review and promotion.
- Provide positive praise and recognition.
- Wrap up the discussion with a mutual understanding of the performance and development opportunities.
- Establish goals and objectives, whether it is a quarterly, semi-annual or annual.
Is your performance management system robust enough to help align employee to the overall business goals, provide constructive feedback for improvement and create a rich development plan for their growth? strategic HR, inc. can help you create your own process and forms and then help train all of your managers on how to successfully conduct a performance appraisal. Don’t let a bad or inadequate system come back and haunt you later – let us help you now!
A special thanks to the strategic HR, inc. team for sharing their expertise for this article, specifically Bob Anderson, MA; Debbie Hailey; Leanne Colonna, SPHR, SHRM-SCP; and Patti Dunham, MBA, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP. For any questions, just email us at info@strategicHRinc.com.