How can HR move beyond outdated performance reviews?


Centrally designed processes that are formulaic and over-structured are the days of past for HR professionals, according to Annie Brown, chief people office, Trade Me in New Zealand.

Brown told HRD that the key role of HR is to facilitate the design of processes and systems that motivates performance.

“There is a reason HR is talking about PX – people experience – and designing systems that meet the needs of our people – not the management of the company or, dare I say, the controlling old HR ‘department’,” said Brown.

“Personally, I am so much more motivated by a challenge and being given space and real ownership to deliver outstanding work – what a buzz!

“I get so bored with HR top down overcooked gear that just slows the business down and turns people off.”

Brown added that she is a great believer in making sure the performance framework provides a good experience for their team members and that it inspires them to do their best work, feel challenged, and are recognised for their outstanding performance.

“I often find in companies that the performance framework and review process has become unwieldly, at times really over engineered, and demotivating for the people we are trying to inspire.”

Brown said the shift to the team member owning their objectives and how they contribute to the business plans is key, as are the regular check-ins with their leader so they are always knowing how they are tracking.

“It sounds so simple when you say it like that, but usually it doesn’t play out that way,” said Brown.

“The move away from over-structured rating scaled frameworks to one that encourages regular, open and honest conversation on how the work will be delivered is so needed and liberating when done well.”

So if Brown could give one piece of advice to HR professionals relating to performance reviews what would it be?

“Make sure you ask your people what they want to experience to help them deliver great work.”


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