Are you wondering how on earth you’re going to get the annual performance review crossed off your to-do list? As the year draws to a close the performance review is looming. Everyone dreads them, from HR managers to team leads and team members themselves.
What you’re currently experiencing
Why do they elicit such a sense of foreboding? Here are a few reasons we’ve identified:
Lack of formal processes. Some HR departments still rely on word docs or spreadsheets to collect the data from performance reviews. How can you draw meaningful conclusions if it takes hours to go through individual performance reviews? According to Aberdeen, for more than 80% of companies performance data currently gets siloed without contributing to a meaningful strategy.
Difficulty to scale. As teams grow, relying on inefficient tools and different ways of conducting reviews just won’t work. Standardizing processes helps to provide a consistent experience across the board, not just for the teams involved but also for HR, so you can gather meaningful insights into the business.
Low completion rates. If someone has to take 10 hours or more to complete a performance review, the likelihood they will do it is pretty low. Especially if they don’t know where the information is going or what’s being done with it. For you, it means spending more time sending reminders and following up with managers, time that could be better invested in other processes that also need your attention.
How can you help change it?
Experiment. Try conducting different types of reviews within certain teams to see what works best. For example you might want to try shorter “take 5” style check-ins, or you could suggest managers conduct monthly 1:1 meetings to gather data more frequently. You might also experiment with 360 feedback or peer reviews to see which add the most value.
Select a cadence. Use best practices, data you collect from your experiments, and ensure you ask people’s opinions on what they would find beneficial. After reviewing the data, pick a rhythm for reviews that works for your organization. Ensure the reasons and expectations are communicated clearly, and that you stick to your new schedule
Consider your options. What will help improve the overall process? Is it clearer communication, automated messages, a shorter amount of questions? Make sure you know what’s preventing you from scaling so you can address it.
Pick the right tool. Once you understand what’s getting in the way, select the right tool to support your change. For example you might consider investing in a platform that supports a culture of feedback while making the process smoother.
Use your data. When you feel you have the right performance management process, make sure you’re using the information you receive. Use the data to support your learning & development programs and define career paths, and communicate how you’re using it.
What should happen next?
When all is said and done, you want the “right” performance management process to provide added value to everyone involved. If you improve it, you should expect to:
Drive higher engagement rates. With a process that demonstrates added value, people will have better clarity on where they stand. Once they are more engaged, they are more likely to show loyalty and invest more in their jobs. It also means they’re more likely to stay in their roles and envision a career path they will want to take charge of.
Decrease turnover. According to research by Aberdeen, current retention is under the 2 year mark. But if you’re able to gather relevant data from your performance review process, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve and course correct issues to ensure higher satisfaction. With a more engaged workforce, turnover will decrease or stagnate, lowering the impact on costs.
Create and maintain a culture of feedback. The performance review should be looked forward to, if people understand how it contributes to their professional growth. By encouraging them to share feedback more regularly, you can help them get accustomed to both giving and receiving it. Once the culture of feedback has been established, people are more likely to take the annual performance review seriously and complete it.
Increase or maintain levels of productivity. When people no longer have to spend hours on a process that isn’t user friendly, they’ll be more able to maintain their productivity in their other tasks. This means the annual performance review has a lower impact on overall productivity.
Encourage everyone to take ownership. The ultimate goal is for people to feel empowered to take ownership of their professional development. If they understand how the performance review can help, they will be more likely to embrace it. Once they can visualize their career path, they will be more engaged, and you’ve successfully created a virtuous circle. In turn, this will deliver a less time consuming and more seamless process for HR.
The resulting positive impact should be felt by all, not just in terms of a satisfied workforce, but also for the business. We believe that if you grow your people you can grow your business, and finding the right performance review process is part of that.