Keep Employee Performance Reviews Short and Frequent

Oct 23, 2014 | Performance Management

At most companies, the annual appraisal has become a central feature of the employee performance management process. A manager will call his direct reports into his office one by one and provide feedback at a fixed point in the year, usually determined by Human Resources.  

However, conducting an employee performance appraisal once a year means that many aspects of an individual’s work or behaviors may be forgotten about. Alternatively, the feedback may be so old it has become irrelevant. The project that was delivered ahead of schedule 11 months before the review may have fallen off the radar by the time the performance review comes around. On the other hand, feedback on how an employee can improve his communication skills may be too late if it is delivered 10 months after the issue has come to light.

An annual performance review is often lengthy and cumbersome, with large amounts of paperwork required to support a process that has to evaluate employee performance over a 12-month period. The solution could be to move away from unwieldy annual appraisals and introduce shorter, more frequent performance reviews that enable feedback to be given more regularly and in a timely manner (one of the four golden rules for delivering feedback to employees).

Improve Communication

In contrast to the formal annual appraisal, shorter, more frequent reviews tend to feel less formal. Because they are happening regularly, they lose some of the mystique and anxiety that often surrounds annual employee performance appraisals. Conversations between the employee and manager can become more relaxed and fruitful as they get used to discussing performance, setting goals, and giving and receiving feedback on a more regular basis.

Improve Employee Motivation

An annual performance review that fails to accurately reflect an employee’s entire performance over the year can be demotivating, particularly if the employee has hit a bad patch after a period of good performance earlier in the year. All too often their good work is forgotten and the recent underperformance becomes the focus of the discussion.

By holding smaller, more regular reviews, managers can give positive feedback in a timely manner, helping to boost employee morale. They can also address performance issues as they arise, meaning that they do not overshadow positive feedback by being combined in one annual appraisal.

Focus on Current Issues

Regular conversations between employees and managers enable them to focus on what is happening now, rather than what happened 6 to 12 months ago. Both positive and negative feedback can be given nearer to the point when the good or poor performance took place. Timely feedback helps employees to understand better what is expected of them, what needs to improve, and what they should be doing more of to earn positive feedback in the future.

Do Shorter, More Frequent Reviews Deliver Results?

The move from annual appraisals to shorter, more frequent performance reviews (known as “check-ins”) has benefitted Adobe Systems, the global software company based in California. Introduced in 2012, the informal series of discussions between managers and employees sets goals, provides a mechanism for two-way feedback, and allows for discussions on growth and development. Adobe has seen both voluntary and involuntary departures decrease. The company suggests that those who are performing well feel valued and those who need to improve feel supported and encouraged through the regular check-ins.

Using Technology to Support Regular Performance Reviews:

Moving to shorter, more regular performance reviews does not mean more paperwork for managers. You can use online technology to support these frequent reviews. By using employee performance management software, companies can enable managers to build a picture of their employees’ performance that can be accessed at the touch of a button.


Primalogik 360 can help you streamline your employee performance reviews and perform frequent check-ins. Start your free trial today!

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