In a business world that's rapidly changing, companies recognise that they need to adapt. There's little point in having a performance review system that hasn't changed with the times and what employees now need to succeed.
Fortunately, many companies across the world have recognised the need to overhaul their dated annual performance reviews and are instituting more dynamic strategies. Zombies begone! Some pundits are even calling it a revolution.
The modern performance evaluation is about measuring performance as accurately as possible and then getting together regularly to share results and discuss ongoing development.
Open, two-way conversations are key. People want to work in an environment where they feel supported, respected, and valued. They want to take pride in their job, to be told when they are doing well, and given assistance if there are areas where they could improve.
Every employee is an individual, so your performance review system should be flexible enough to recognise their skills, interests, and aspirations so they can be developed and rewarded. If the review hones in on weaknesses without charting a practical course for improvement, there is a real risk of discouraging rather than motivating your people.
Likewise, measuring every single aspect of an employee's efforts and producing a lengthy review like a school report may be counterproductive (not to mention tiresome). Forms and documents are useful for defining and communicating expectations, assessments, and results, but they shouldn't come at the expense of honest dialogue.
Involve the employee in performance planning. Agree on several clear, quantifiable objectives that are relevant to each person's role along with the skills needed to achieve them. This will ensure the review is both effective and easily-achievable. Include a plan for development activities that you and the employee will complete to improve skills, achieve the objectives, and enhance their career.
Don't wait until scheduled performance review meetings to give or receive feedback. Not all conversations have to be formal. The process should be continuous, helping people understand their strengths and the connection between their performance and the business' success.
And if things change, either inside or outside the business, your performance appraisal system should be able to adapt. Business goals can shift. An employee might develop new interests or want to alter their hours. By working together, you can help ensure your people stay motivated and committed.
People-management skills are vital to all of this, so your senior leaders and managers may need support and training, too. Be objective. If practice shows there are aspects of your system that aren't working, don't be afraid to modify or jettison them.
Help is out there. Good software will help with digitisation and automation, lessening the admin load and making it easy to create, update, and complete performance reviews. Experts that understand good performance management can ensure your system is tailored to the goals of your team members and the overall business.
Reshaping performance reviews into simpler, more dynamic management systems may be challenging, but companies are reaping the rewards. Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report found that 90 percent of companies that have retooled their performance review systems see direct improvements in employee engagement, and 83 percent say they see the quality of conversations between employees and managers going up.
Don't settle for less. Your performance review processes should have a beating heart that connects a team of engaged, skilled people, and a head that steers and propels everyone towards shared success in the short and long-term.