What are the benefits of continuous performance feedback?
Imagine if friends or couples only checked in with each other once a year. Would their relationships thrive? What if students were only evaluated at the end of the year? Would they succeed? If someone experienced a medical emergency and their progress was only monitored once in a period of 12 months, would they be likely to recover? In most situations, the answer to these questions is no. More businesses are dropping annual reviews and switching to a continuous performance feedback model because consistent and frequent monitoring leads to better results. In fact, data suggests that when progress is routinely monitored, weekly goals are 24 times more likely to be met.
Learn why annual reviews don’t work and the benefits of continuous performance feedback by continuing below.
The Problem: Annual Reviews Hold Employees Back
There are more than just one or two concerns regarding annual reviews. What was once commonplace now has a reputation for wasting resources and providing little to no return. Have you noticed any of the following in your business during annual review season?
If you’ve been conducting annual reviews for several years, you know how they zap productivity. Depending on the number of employees you have and qualified positions to conduct reviews, evaluations can take an entire day, an entire week, or even longer, and this isn’t including paperwork before and after.
One size fits all approach
At one time, it was easier to measure employee performance with numbers. Whether it had to do with how many parts were pushed through an assembly line or how many accounts were secured, it was easy to see if an employee was excelling or failing. But with the fluidity technology has brought to the workplace, combined with team projects and efforts, it’s no longer feasible to use this approach.
Infrequency leads to little progress
Employees today expect consistent feedback. When working towards an immediate goal, learning how they performed 10 months later will do little to help them grow as an employee. Some employees also find them degrading, insulting, and damaging to their relationship with management.
Organizations that review once a year tend to overlook management training when it comes to effective review processes. Therefore, you tend to see managers encounter common pitfalls like not evaluating the full performance period because they cannot remember what happened 6 months ago or giving vague or no examples to support their reviews. This can lead to incomplete and useless feedback.
You’re likely to find more complaints and concerns surrounding annual reviews than praise. This is why more companies are vetoing annual reviews and moving on to new performance measuring techniques that benefit not just the company and employees but customers as well.
The Solution: Switch to Continuous Performance Development
The benefits of continuous performance development are vast. With timely and actional feedback, employees always know where they stand. As a whole, the company is focused on the future rather than events of the past and managers are transformed from scary superiors to mentors and coaches.
Some businesses experienced 30% less turnover after ditching annual reviews while increasing productivity and engagement levels. This all leads to a better customer experience. If you’re ready to make the switch, there are a few steps to take and potential hurdles to be aware of for a smoother transition.
It’s impossible to make the transition successfully overnight. You’ll need to take the time to discover the individual issues with annual performance reviews in your business or industry, address them, and put together an implementation plan that works for both management and employees.
Ask the tough questions
Ask all levels of employees about their issues with annual reviews and concerns about switching to a continuous performance model. Both sides are sure to bring unique questions and concerns to the table. Having these all laid out before the transition can help prevent issues after the switch.
Seek outside help
This is a big change for any business and without proper resources, some may fail at the transition. If you have concerns or just aren’t sure how to go about the process, hiring outside consultants could save time, frustration, and employee morale.
Before, during, and after the transition, remain transparent and communicative with your entire team. Some employees will deal with the change better than others. Making sure you have an open-door policy throughout the transition can prevent backlash. Ensure the benefits of the change are made clear to all employee levels and that concerns are always addressed promptly
Adapt as needed
Even with adequate planning, there may be a few bumps in the road after the transition is made. Detours and adaptations are perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s better to adjust right away than to fight back and still have to make changes later on.
Be thoughtful and realistic
Do not simply use the same annual performance review template and deliver it four times per year. Understand that ongoing performance evaluations will take time and focus on the criteria essential to an employee’s success.
Having the ability to continuously monitor changes and progress from employees leads to improved morale, increased productivity, and ideally higher profits. The benefits of continuous performance feedback are within reach, should you decide to make the change.