Employee development is one of those things HR departments spend an awful lot of time thinking about, and even more time trying to measure and analyse. But with the rising use and availability of performance management software, reviewing performance is easier than ever.
What isn’t happening, however, are regular reviews. While many high-profile companies are turning to regular performance reviews to help motivate, mentor and develop their employees, there are still a huge number of businesses who are sticking to the tried-and-tested annual performance review model.
Checking in no more than once a year, thousands of businesses all over the world spend little more than an hour assessing how successful their employees have been at meeting their objectives. Employees are expected to demonstrate how they’ve met their goals over the past 12 months by recalling incidents and giving examples. But worst of all, employees might then be told that there have been concerns about their performance for some time, and the examples they’ve provided aren’t convincing enough to warrant a pay rise or promotion.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that so many employees feel like annual performance reviews are of very little benefit to them. An annual review can be demoralising as it is totally incapable of recognising the hard work an employee has put in every day, often going unnoticed, and it can leave employees feeling disengaged, demotivated and perhaps even seeking a role elsewhere.
So, it stands to reason that the key to employee development, therefore, is a regular performance review.
Rather than an employee frantically cobbling together examples to demonstrate how they’ve met their objectives (and hoping they’re eloquent enough to communicate how much they’ve achieved), regular reviews ensure that employees are acknowledged for their success on an ongoing basis. This means that recognition for hard work is a regular part of everyone’s week, and a culture of gratitude and enthusiasm is apparent in even the busiest office.
Equally, regular reviews mean that an employee’s struggles and failures are monitored on a daily basis too. But the good news it that regular reviews and continuous feedback ensures that problems can be quickly ironed out. If a lack of training is the issue, more training can be organised. If time management is a problem, measures can be taken to free up hours and ensure that the most important tasks are completed first. If it’s simply the case that an employee isn’t making quite enough effort to make the grade, conversations can be initiated to figure out what’s going on and what can be done to inject their working day with purpose and energy.
But what is most beneficial about regular performance reviews, however, is that it allows for an open channel of communication. There will be no guess work, no mind-reading and no seething resentment that bubbles away under the surface for 12 months at a time. Employees will know where they stand with the company and what is expected of them, and managers will be able to guide, analyse and intervene to ensure that the business is as successful as it has the potential to be.
So, how do regular performance review sound to you? Do they sound like the key to employee development? Or do you think that annual reviews do the job just fine?