How to Make Performance Reviews Worth Your (and Your Employees’) Time

Rachel Nauen


Does your workplace hold performance reviews? Lately, more and more employers are getting rid of traditional annual reviews, citing that they are stressful, a waste of time and don’t provide valuable information for either party.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Performance reviews can be a great place for you and your employees to align on key priorities and goals. Here are common mistakes employers make when it comes to conducting performance reviews.

  1. Thinking of reviews as something you have to do to “check a box.” Almost a third of employers (32 percent) think performance reviews are a “have to do” task. Instead of rolling your eyes, think critically about what would make a performance review worth your time. Dig into your employees’ interests, work results or opinions on how they are doing. 
  2. Holding reviews only once a year. Forty percent of employers only conduct performance reviews once a year. Consider moving toward a coaching culture in which workers receive timely feedback and praise, regularly discuss skill development, and explore growth opportunities.
  3. Not asking employees to give feedback on their manager. Twenty-four percent of managers are not evaluated by their employees, and 8 percent of managers are evaluated less than once a year. It’s important that leaders at your company are receiving feedback too – how else can you know the company is being led in the right direction? Be sure to elicit feedback from your managers’ direct reports on their management and communication style.
  4. Not tying individual goals to the greater goals of the company, and not showing employees how their accomplishment impact the company. Forty percent of employers sometimes or never tie individual goals to the greater goals of the company. This is a mistake – employees that feel as if they are truly making a difference and impacting the company will often be more engaged and produce better work. Take the time to show employees how their work is impacting the bottom line.
  5. Not looking at how high-performing teams in the organization work and how your team can mimic them. About a third of employers (31 percent) don’t dig into how their team can mimic high-performing teams in their organization. It’s important for managers to learn from one another – that’s how teams keep improving and a workplace remains collaborative and open. Set up a touch base with leads of different teams, and tell managers to bring results or takeaways on how they’ve succeeded in the last quarter.

By holding productive, insightful performance reviews, you’ll be able to raise engagement levels, fix employee mistakes before they become habits, and lead employees to success. 

Find more insight into how to elicit feedback from your employees here.

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