Work appraisals and performance reviews are key to helping keep employees on track, growing, and motivated. Historically, this kind of review has been conducted between the employer and the employee annually, usually around an employee anniversary date or near the time of year that a company will be issuing bonuses. While this kind of communication is important, it has tended to be a one-sided conversation, driven my managers or supervisors. Sometimes employees are encouraged to fill out a self-evaluation, but largely the review is for managers to make sure employees understand whether they are meeting expectations.
This is not always the most effective way to create better employee relationships or drive productivity. As employee expectations and motivations change, the review process may need to change as well. Here are some ideas for how to think about reshaping your employee review process for the better.
- Weekly check-ins: More regular conversations can give you better insight into an employee’s work quality. Hard data, like projects completed or deadlines met, doesn’t always tell the whole story. Weekly or semi-regular meetings give employees more regular opportunities to talk about challenges, ask questions, and more.
- Different feedback approaches: If an annual performance review is still necessary, you can change the way you give employee feedback. Capturing data not just from a management perspective but also including feedback from co-workers or even clients can be valuable to shaping an employee’s progress. Asking people from different departments who work in a capacity that’s different from the employee’s, as well as close team members, for thoughts on the employee’s work can give both you and the employee a lot of valuable insight.
- Separate compensation conversations: An annual review is usually associated with some kind of raise or pay increase, with the conversation around performance justifying the compensation change. This can still be a part of employee assessments, but shouldn’t necessarily be the only time employees receive formal, constructive feedback on their performance.
An annual performance review isn’t the only way to track employee progress or share performance related feedback. It’s become more important for managers to have more regular conversations with employees about expectations and goals. Managers are often already busy and have full calendars and a lot of business responsibilities, but making time for these conversations and different feedback approaches is critical in helping to guide and motivate employees towards their best work.