evaluating early career professionals 

evaluatingAt a time when high potential talent has become the essence of an organization’s growth, managing performance and career growth plans of early career professionals (ECPs) has become more critical than ever. According to a Gallop survey, 21% of millennials say that they’ve switched jobs within the last year, whereas 60% of millennials indicate that they are open to a different job opportunity. Attrition levels amongst millennials are clearly at an all-time high, negatively impacting the company’s bottom line and also severely limiting talent growth plans at most organizations. Consider this statistic: Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy an estimated US$ 30.5 billion annually. The stakes for finding and retaining skilled talent have increased immensely and employers are rethinking their performance management and evaluation systems. HR leaders are now offering a unique mix of career development planning along with performance management to nurture young professionals who have recently transitioned from their education to professional careers

Here are three key pointers that make for an effective performance evaluation system for employees who are at the early stages of their careers. 

1. Transparent OKRs and evaluation guidelines 

As modern organizations undergo radical changes to sustain business in a volatile and ambiguous economic environment, they are required to prepare their employees for the same. Even more so, when it comes to their younger and less experienced team members. Setting clear objectives and key results (OKRs) and performance expectations is the first step in this direction. Goal setting and performance tracking gives your ECPs a clear sense of direction and motivation to work. This not only makes it easier for managers to assess the performance of their team members, but also helps the latter to view their career path more clearly. Being new to the industry, as much as 46% of ECPs list ‘finding the right role’ as their greatest challenge in the early stages of their career.

2. Continuous feedback over annual/semi-annual performance review

PerformanceGrowing companies are doing away with the outdated practice of conducting annual or semi-annual performance reviews. Instead, they follow a rather continuous process of feedback to push the learning curve and avoid lags in process enhancements. With a regular feedback system designed to mentor young professionals, team leaders can quickly fix errors and in fact reduce their occurrence altogether. A regular feedback mechanism also removes the negative perception attached with annual sit- down processes where employees feel more instead of motivated to improve their performance. According to Peoplematters, ‘agile feedback loops’ are a key attribute of continuous feedback process that drives performance and engagement. Even the younger generation of employees (millennials) value real-time feedback as a part of their performance review process.

3. Qualitative feedback over numerical ratings

Rather than following rigid and often flawed numerical systems, modern firms are adopting qualitative methods to evaluate the performance of their younger team members. They consider point-based assessments to be too objective as they tend to miss out on individual traits and contributions. Companies are also making this shift to stay in line with what the millennial generation of employees expect from their company’s evaluation system. General Electrics (GE), the very organization responsible for popularizing numerical performance rating systems, has reviewed its performance management system to remove performance ratings.

According to research by Namely, the forces that are changing employee performing appraisals are being driven by technology and a new generation of workers i.e. millennials, who will be forming about 50% of the workforce by 2020. Organizations who want to hire and retain the best talent in the industry are considering the traits of the millennial workforce while developing the performance management strategy for their early career hires. A comprehensive evaluation strategy tailored to this new generation of workers is most likely to have the maximum positive impact, not just on millennial retention and growth, but also on company performance and culture.