Arguments Against Your Annual Employee Reviews

December 14, 2022

Performance review words including Goals, Performance, Management, Improvement, Strategy, Coaching, Activities

The Employee Annual Review. It brings forth feelings of dread from employees, who often perceive it as either a list of all the things they did wrong that year. Is the Employee Annual Review yet another workplace practice that’s outlasted its usefulness? Here are three compelling reasons to ditch the annual review in favor of more productive professional feedback.

Engaging Conversations Instead of One-Party Reviews

Try something novel in your business – ask an employee what they think they do well. When you do this, you open up a conversation that allows the employee to be part of their professional development and not just a spectator at their annual review. You’ll gain insight into how they tick and what skills they believe someone needs to perform well in their position. You also give them a chance for self-reflection and an honest assessment of their strengths. Sometimes, their opinion aligns with yours, but other times, you may be pleasantly surprised at their strengths and will have discovered someone with potential.

When you understand where an employee’s strengths are, you can develop an improvement plan that hones those through mentoring, but also note where the employee can benefit from extra training in their weaker areas.

Conversations Foster Accountability and Remove Fear of Failure

Continue the conversation about your employee’s strengths with an open back-and-forth about ways they’d like to develop their skills to advance in their career. As you talk about growth, it’s more natural to talk about weaknesses that may be holding that growth back. Let’s say you have someone who is a natural salesperson but disorganized about keeping up with client information in the CRM platform you use or sloppy with contracts. Talking about their strengths in sales and building client relationships could naturally evolve into a conversation about how better organization, collecting more details, and being prompt about getting contracts signed and executed provides more professional client service.

Here, you’ve covered items that would be on an annual review but framed as part of the employee’s growth program instead of an “X” in a box. Now, you’ve made your employee a partner in their training and development.

92% of employees want feedback more than once a year

Regular Conversations Give Managers Insight Into the Team Overall

Regular conversations like this help managers keep their fingers on the team vibe and their own assessment of their collective successes or where they feel the group overall needs to do something different. Hold team conversations similar to the one you had with individual employees. Make sure that each team member understands their role and how they contribute to the success of the team and its results. Listen to them and then work together with your teams to create a team improvement plan.

When you do this, however, be sure to assign responsibilities for certain tasks so that, again, everyone is clear about what their responsibilities are. Check in regularly with your team to monitor their progress with the improvement plan, and again, do it as a conversation where all weigh in. Sometimes, the team solution may not end up with the results they expected, which can be an opportunity for you, as a manager, to help them reflect and regroup.

Bottom Line

Sharing the responsibility for growth and improvement with your employees and teams instead of assigning it to them results in employees who are more engaged in their professional improvement and growth. So consider replacing the annual review with regular, purposeful conversations.

Last modified: December 12, 2022

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