Get Rid of Your Old-Fashioned Performance Review System


Although many companies still use them, performance reviews are coming under increasing criticism. Those who still like them say that such reviews enable management to give feedback to employees and help to improve their performance.

But critics dismiss them as time wasters. Supervisors go through the motions, as do employees. Then the reviews are filed away. The reviews are often too vague and too broad to really do any good, according to detractors.

Feedback Should be Ongoing

In fact, relying too much on performance reviews can actually be detrimental to the performance of employees. That is because what performance reviews do – give feedback to the employee – is something that should be happening all the time. It should be a frequent, ongoing activity by managers. You don’t wait until the year-end performance review to talk to an employee about his or her performance, where they are doing well and where they are not, human resource experts say.

For good managers, giving feedback to employees is an integral part of the job. If managers are going to reach their goals, giving feedback to employees is essential.

The Right Kind of Feedback

In order for feedback to be of value, it has to be done right. This is one reason for the criticism of performance reviews – the feedback is not useful to the employee; it’s not information the employee can use to improve their performance.

To really be effective, feedback has to focus on the performance, not on the person. The feedback must be specific, detailed and concrete. Simply telling the employee they are doing a good job or a poor job in a certain area really does not help much.

To really make the feedback count, the supervisor must explain exactly how the employee’s performance is not meeting expectations, using specific examples; then explain exactly what the performance expectations are in clear, detailed language. Finally, the supervisor needs to explain what the employee needs to do to improve their performance.

Working together, the supervisor and employee must come up with a plan for improvement; incorporating specific goals that need to be achieved and a time frame for reaching them. Then as part of ongoing feedback, the supervisor needs to keep in touch with the employee to see how he is progressing and if any adjustments need to be made.

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