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Performance Reviews... Time to Do More!

It’s that time of year again. The time each and every employee looks forward to the most – PERFORMANCE REVIEW TIME! Oh, I’m sorry, did I say "looks forward" to? I meant absolutely dreads! When it comes to performance reviews, if your organization isn't already changing, it is time to think about doing more.

What is wrong with Performance Reviews anyways?

For many companies there has been a long-standing tradition of making all employees meet with their HR representative and talk about all the things they did, good and bad, at work throughout the whole year. A once a year meeting doesn’t sound so bad though, does it? Then why does everyone dislike it so much? Let’s examine the downsides... infrequent feedback, may not assess actual performance, expensive, no follow-up interviews, one review for all job descriptions, high anxiety for everyone involved, rewards and compensation can interfere with accuracy, and that’s just to name a few. So why do so many companies still use yearly performance reviews when there are so many issues with them? My belief is that most companies just don’t have time to reevaluate their procedures frequently enough. We so often just get stuck in a perpetual cycle - day after day and year after year – and we don’t step back and question what we’re doing as much as we should.

Is there a better way?

Enough doom and gloom, let’s problem solve. So what’s a better way? That’s the exciting part - it’s up to us to figure it out! You have probably been hearing for quite some time that many companies, like Accenture and more recently SAP, have started moving away from yearly performance reviews, either by throwing them out completely or by doing them less formally and more frequently. SAP is testing a new process, which includes more regular check-in talks and aims to implement it for all of its almost 80,000 workforce this year. Regular feedback and dialog throughout the year is much more useful to staff and supervisors than an annual formal review. According to research firm Bersin by Deloitte, around 70% of companies are now reconsidering their performance management strategy, and that was at the end of 2015. So, if your company isn't reconsidering yet, you may be missing the boat.


SAP is testing a new process, which includes more regular check-in talks and aims to implement it for all of its almost 80,000 workforce this year.


Should everyone change?

This is not to say that every company should ditch performance reviews. A formal review process may work well for some companies, but there is definitely still a need to keep innovating and exploring options. No matter what type of organization you work in, when it comes to performance appraisals, we all should think about doing more. If the idea is to get employees working to their highest level and keeping them motivated and interested, HR professionals will have to keep up with what really works for employees at their individual companies.

So get out there, get involved, get curious, get innovative and shake things up!


Hannah Parker Carver is Graduate Assistant in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. She serves as the Director of Communication & Philanthropy for VUSHRM. Learn more about her here!

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