Performance Reviews

Three ways regular check-ins improve performance reviews

In today’s HR landscape, solutions that reimagine performance management as we know it are in high demand. According to the Deloitte Human capital trends, nearly 70% of organizations are rethinking their performance management processes. Industry experts agree that traditional performance management fails to meet the mark, and a more continuous approach may be the answer.

Companies like Adobe, GE, and DoorDash have already adopted the concept of “check-ins” or in some cases completely replaced their traditional processes with them, and they’re not alone. Even if your business isn’t ready to completely ditch the performance review, regular performance check-ins are a valuable addition to the performance management process. Here are a three benefits your company will experience by supplementing your review cycle with check-ins.

  1. Managers will capture individual performance better

The goal of a performance review is to accurately capture an individual’s contributions and areas for development in their role. Traditional performance reviews tend struggle to achieve this accurately due to them happening only once a year.

Check-ins can help capture these insights through lightweight recurring conversations. Managers can use the results to piece together a more accurate picture of their direct reports when the time comes for their review.

Regular conversations give both managers and individuals the opportunity to discuss progress, identify and hurdles, and change course as needed. This way whenever review time comes around, managers are less likely to fall victim to recency bias, and nobody is faced with any unpleasant surprises.

Managers and individuals who document their conversations make it easier on themselves around review time—even if it’s just a few bullet points after each conversation. Enable teams to get the most out of these conversations by giving them the tools or processes to draft and access check-in notes easily.

2. Check-ins are easily managed

You don’t need much to get started. As mentioned, the simplest way to run a check-in is by holding recurring conversations between managers and direct reports. As long as managers and direct reports regularly meet to discuss the direct reports’ goals, performance, or relevant issues, you and your people will experience the benefits during performance review season.

Another way to do this would be by holding check-ins via email, with a specific series of questions people have to answer each time. Or if you use a performance management platform that supports this type of functionality, you can use it to make sure you have all your data in one place.

For example at Impraise, we helped one of our customers set up the “Take5 check-in” model: a five question survey that takes only five minutes to align teams for the day. Managers simply create a list of questions within Impraise that their teammates can respond to with just a few clicks. As a result, managers are able to regularly check the pulse of what’s happening in their team—and step in or step back as needed.

3. Check-ins drive alignment

According to research by Deloitte, an average 70% of people feel they are not provided with clear goals or direction at work, and according to Gallup nearly 40% of people are completely unaware of their company’s targets, or how they can contribute to them. That means more than half of people working at any given company are not working as effectively as they could be.

Through regular check-ins, managers have more opportunities to communicate company objectives and direction to employees, as well as any potential changes. This gives your people the opportunity to be more aware of what's happening on the company wide level, and adjust their behavior accordingly. It also gives your HR team more clarity when it comes to how individuals and teams are contributing to overall business objectives.

Continuous performance management is the way forward for performance innovation, but it doesn’t mean you have to completely ditch your traditional processes. Check-ins are easily accessible, and a great way to help foster relationships between managers and direct reports. These relationships are essential to help you see the bigger picture of your company’s performance during performance reviews, and enable your people to do the best work that they can.

If you’d like to learn more about how to adopt check-ins into your performance management process, contact us. Our team of experts can assess your current HR processes and help you understand your options.

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