7 Obvious Reasons to Kill the Traditional Performance Review

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Technology changes everything, and that also means the review process. These seven reasons explain why you should consider switching it up.

The use of traditional performance reviews in the workplace is dying out as more and more companies are slowly transitioning to a more practical and effective method.

In fact, according to research by Deloitte from earlier this year, 89 percent of survey participants said they have already changed their performance management system or are planning to do so within the next 18 months. But why?

Taking a more conversational approach, and switching from evaluating employees to improving employee skills has proven to be much more beneficial for employers and employees alike. Instead of wasting time cluttering your desk with even more paperwork, check out these seven reasons you should ditch the traditional performance review and go modern.

Related Article: 14 Best Tools to Measure Employee Performance

1. No In-Depth Preparation By Management

Getting rid of employee evaluations alleviates the pressure of more paperwork and significantly minimizes stress caused by potential negative reactions from your employees. All you as a manager have to do is inform each employee of when their session is coming up, preferably a few weeks in advance, and invite them to choose a location that works best for them.

2. Employees Can Reflect and Prepare in Advance

There are many benefits to informing employees of their individual meetings with you (or another member of management) in advance. Here are just a few:

  • They have time to plan ahead and formulate questions and concerns they may have about their performance and the performance of your business over the last year.
  • They can consider where they’ll be most comfortable offering you the straightforward and honest feedback you are expecting.
  • Everyone wastes time imagining things they “should have said” after an unexpected event has come and gone. Giving employees an advanced “heads up” allows them to prepare for questions and reduce regret brought on by afterthoughts.

3. Questions Prompt Conversation

This should not be the time to discuss pay increases. This is the time to prompt a thoughtful discussion about how employees believe they can improve their performances. Ask them open-ended questions that require more than just a “yes” or “no” answer. Get a feel for how they perceive themselves and your business by asking questions that require introspective answers. Here are some suggestions:

  • On a scale of one to 10, how do they gauge their performance over the past year? Why?
  • How can they improve their skills to better improve themselves and the company?
  • Where do they see themselves and the company a year from now?

4. Employee Feedback Benefits Your Business

Listening to the input of your employees regarding business practices and systems can greatly improve your business. Asking for feedback during one-on-one meetings outside of the office gives employees the chance to go into detail about the inner workings of their departments and what can be done to eliminate problems and improve the work atmosphere. It can be much more effective than employee surveys, and it gives business managers the opportunity to get to know the professional side of their employees.

Related Article: How to Improve Relations Between Your Managers and Employees

5. Employees Feel Recognized

Seeking the opinions of your employees makes them feel part of the bigger picture. Knowing they have their own voice can help increase employee engagement and, consequently, improve office workflow as well as the quality of the products or services your company offers.

Employees often feel judged and less appreciated when given traditional employee evaluations. Approximately 66 percent of employees have expressed that the evaluation process interferes with their overall productivity. A non-traditional evaluation or a more conversational approach allows employees to gain a sense of significance within the company, and they aren’t as hard on themselves.

6. Gives You and Your Employee a Break from the Office Atmosphere

As mentioned in the first reason, it’s a good idea to give the employee a heads-up to choose where they’d like to have their session. Hosting the session at a different location gives both of you the opportunity to escape the stuffy office atmosphere and enjoy the freedom to have an open discussion.

It’s not uncommon for employees to feel slightly uncomfortable in the workplace when talking to authority—they never know who’s going to interrupt or overhear their discussion. Providing your employee with the opportunity to choose the location gives them a sense of freedom and comfort, knowing they’re not at risk of falling victim to rumors or unnecessary criticism by coworkers.

Hosting meetings outside the office also helps increase productivity. According to a 2013 survey by Hilton Worldwide, eight out of 10 meeting planners and administrative assistants view off-site meetings as more effective than in-house meetings.

7. Helps Set Individual and Business Goals

By asking questions similar to those listed above, you can help your employees set individual goals that will benefit not only their performance in the workplace but also gauge the sort of goals you may want to consider for your company. Setting business-related goals can only help your business excel. They may frustrate you from time to time, but the sense of accomplishment you receive from achieving those goals makes it all worthwhile.

Setting goals also helps your employees come together to reach a common ground. It helps them realize that they are all a part of the same system and that it is crucial for employees to work together to maintain a smooth workflow and positive atmosphere in the office.

The result of the non-traditional evaluation approach is empowerment. It boosts employee self-confidence as well as the overall performance of your business. So, before you start preparing that boring and tedious annual employee review, stop and consider the benefits of taking a more conversational approach to improving your performance management system.

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