Traditional performance reviews are rather unpopular with employees and managers alike. According to a recent survey, 60% of employees feel performance reviews are stressful. 55% of employees wish that their companies would scrap or change the way performance reviews are structured. Clearly, it’s time organizations take note and move from an outcome-focused performance review process to one focused on people.
Here are five ways organizations can put their employees at the center of performance reviews:
#1 Enable continuous performance development: Employees want real time and regular feedback. 82% of employees really appreciate any form of feedback, be it positive or negative. As an organization, it’s important to cultivate a culture of continuous engagement – a mix of weekly 1:1 review meetings, quarterly, and bi-annual reviews, followed by the formal annual reviews. With this approach, by the time the annual review arrives, there’ll be no surprises for the employees – they will be well aligned with organizational expectations and would have received ample guidance through the year towards achieving those goals.
#2 Look beyond Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) : While measurable and realistic KPIs can be useful in evaluations, care should be taken not conduct performance reviews based solely on outcomes determined by those KPIs. Experts say employee performance must be regarded as a whole, not just their contributions towards achieving KPIs. An employee’s ability to work with the team, solve problems, demonstrate company values through his/her actions, and the desire to learn and grow, should also be key considerations for a holistic performance review.
#3 Encourage employees to grow: For an organization, one of the key objectives is to develop leaders from within. Discussing career growth opportunities during a performance review is a great way to do this. Providing opportunities for people to change roles within the organization and build subject matter expertise through horizontal movement allows employees to spread their wings and grow. Establishing a robust internal cross-functional talent pipeline is a win-win for both employees and the organization – employees get to broaden their skill sets while organizations get a fresh perspective on long-standing challenges.
#4 Train managers to adopt a people-centric mindset: Performance reviews are stressful for managers as well, not just employees, as many are unsure of how to give constructive feedback and handle compensation conversations. It’s a good idea to make training managers a priority by providing everything they need – learning material, compensation matrices, tools, technologies, and other resources to ensure they are well equipped to conduct performance reviews. Above all – training them to be genuine, empathetic, and people-centric in whatever they do, can generate superior appraisal outcomes.
#5 Set learning and growth goals: Besides business goals that typically comprise a major chunk of an employee’s performance metrics, organizations should look at incorporating learning goals as part of overall performance management. When employees focus only on achieving their set business goals, they stick to proven approaches and refrain from taking risks. It also creates a highly competitive workplace culture with everyone gunning for business metrics. Learning goals help put the focus on career growth and performance development by encouraging employees to learn, attend trainings, upgrade skills, etc. One way to do this is to measure learning milestones and scope of improvement as part of performance reviews to create a learning-driven corporate culture – a key competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business world.
The modern performance review in today’s digital age should be a far cry from its traditional counterpart. Its goal should be to support talent development by putting employees front and center, relegating KPI related outcomes to a secondary role. Does your organization’s performance review strategy promote a people-centric process?