Ding! A new email arrives with a familiar subject line: Your Feedback Requested For Your Colleague’s 360 Review. We’ve become so familiar with this process, we don’t even question whether an annual review is the right format for our organization — and for our people individually. Should we? In so many other areas of our work, we’re using rapid advances in technology to capture immediate feedback, resulting in more useful data that allow us to make improvements in real time.
These same advances, paired with understanding our own organizations’ culture and the way our teams work, can be applied to performance reviews. Here’s more on what’s coming in the world of performance reviews and why you should be excited about it — because your people are your most valuable resource.
Performance reviews have evolved over the decades. Today, we’re more accustomed to a transparent, holistic review process, and, with the ability to leverage data to optimize performance in so many other areas of our work, the future of performance reviews looks even more inclusive, positive, and productive.
As many as one third of organizations may be doing away with the annual review process in favor of supervisors engaging in more frequent, and more casual, check-ins with their teams. Saving feedback from an incident in March for a November performance review hardly makes sense and doesn’t allow the employee to grow and learn from the experience in real time. Some organizations have tried employing instant feedback, allowing supervisors to tie incentives to their employees’ individual goals, and even giving out weekly bonuses to those they wanted to recognize.
Managers spend more than 5 work weeks per year on performance reviews. That’s an enormous investment of time and resources on a single function! The right tech stack is crucial here, as we can all relate to the daunting task of filling out performance appraisals on our peers or employees and how difficult it can be to try to remember a year’s worth of interactions and performance with your colleagues. We need to harness the power of tech to make this task not only less frequent, but also less daunting with seamless integration. One example from Vector is our customizable educator evaluation solution, Teachpoint, which automates the entire review process, saving employers time and resources while giving them access to valuable data, allowing them to run reports, and track improvements and results.
Millennials have made it very clear that they look at jobs as development opportunities, and want to receive professional training and mentorship. Being reduced to a data point on a (largely meaningless) 1-5 scale or, even worse, being compared to peers, makes the review process feel impersonal and intimidating. The more employers can adjust the review process to feel individualized, the more effective and engaging the process will be. That said, not everyone feels comfortable raising their hand for feedback or inviting (even constructive) criticism. By making a performance review process truly interactive, reflective and engaging, we are showing our employees that they are valued and keeping them engaged.
Some ways employees will be able to take charge of their review process and tailor it to them in the future include scheduling their own reviews, setting the tone by scheduling a lunch or walking meeting, versus a face-to-face sit-down that can feel intimidating, and encouraging more frequent conversations outside of an annual, formal meeting.
When we hire people, we traditionally think about the job opening and whether the candidate has the requisite skills and experience to fill that role appropriately. A year later, when the performance review rolls around, the meeting can take on a negative tone, which can make both the manager and the employee take on a narrow perspective of that employee’s future opportunities at the organization. This is why reviewing role-specific skills only tells you part of the story. With a great attitude and a willingness to learn, could they be trained and coached to grow and succeed within your organization, perhaps in totally different roles than the one they were originally hired for? You know what we’re going to say: YES!
Tools like simulation training and virtual learning are a win-win; they help employees advance within your company by providing opportunities to obtain or advance skills easily. Through providing high-quality training that harnesses the power of tech, organizations are investing in their employees and helping them succeed in a low-stakes environment that also reduces risk for your company.
A gallup poll showed that 93% of millennials left their company last time they changed roles. By investing in our employees’ development all year long (instead of providing a single, annual review) we can guide them to become the leaders we need them to be; we can nurture leaders from within.
The good news is that everyone in an organization benefits from high-quality, optimized performance evaluation tools. Each company is unique and the methods and processes we employ when interacting with our people are critical to our culture. Just as you onboard and train employees in your organization’s unique way, the way you provide feedback and recognition should be uniquely identifiable to you. There are tools to help, and the right tools can lead to career path planning and optimized performance management. Giving employees more control over their goals and growth is a great thing, and a powerful way to retain talent that you have invested in.