Performance reviews are getting shorter and more frequent, a new OfficeTeam survey found. Slightly more than half of the 300 HR professionals surveyed changed their appraisal process in the past two years, with 39% making the process shorter and 36% upping their frequency.
Most respondents (86%) believe their review process is effectively improving performance. The upped frequency allows the reviews to be more forward-looking; 36% said the greatest advantage of conducting reviews is motivating staff by focusing on goals and achievements. And some respondents said that reviews help determine what changes and resources are required and enable them to make decisions about bonuses and merit (19% each).
“Not everyone revels in performance reviews, but fine-tuning the process and frequency of these discussions can help managers and employees get the most out of them,” Stephanie Naznitsky, OfficeTeam’s executive director, said in a statement. “Many companies have streamlined how feedback is given and encourage supervisors to check in with staff more often. This allows organizations to be nimble in addressing issues, evaluating progress and recognizing good work.”
OfficeTeam’s survey affirmed what other polls have shown: the performance appraisal process is transitioning from the formal once-a-year evaluation to shorter, less structured and more frequent meetings between managers and employees. Employees are driving some of change; more say they want continuous feedback, and managers increasingly are willing to provide it. In fact, a 2017 Quartz report found that younger workers think that the often anxiety-producing, yearly review is a thing of the past. Millennials favor more frequent reviews. And many workers just don’t want to wait a whole year to find out how well they’re doing.
“Many companies will still do an annual review, but what they’re understanding now is that it’s not good enough. It needs to be more frequent.” Hawley Kane, Saba Software’s head of organizational talent and leadership development, told HR Dive in an August interview. “One-and-done is not meeting their needs,”
Critics of the annual appraisal say that it focuses too much on past behavior, instead of on improving future performance. More companies are adopting a performance management system whereby managers and employees meet weekly or monthly to discuss progress and goals. HR professionals will need to decide whether the annual review or more frequent meetings is best for their organization’s culture.