Annual performance reviews simply aren’t getting the job done for most companies. While end-of-year reviews can be an effective tool, they should only be one component of the performance appraisal process. By only meeting with employees on an annual cycle, organizations are missing key opportunities for coaching and skills development that will enrich and engage their workforce.
When managers are asked why they don’t provide more feedback to employees, they commonly answer that they don’t have enough time. While most managers certainly have a heavy workload and busy schedule, neglecting opportunities to provide feedback and help employees improve creates a foundational problem for organizations. It would be like a football coach saying that, with the other demands of the job, they’re too busy to coach their players. That mindset certainly wouldn’t translate to on-field success.
If managers are only providing feedback during an annual review, they’re missing a year’s worth of teaching and problem-solving moments. And employees are hungry for those moments. In fact, 65% of employees would like more feedback than they currently receive.
Younger employees in particular want to be coached: 85% of Millennials surveyed said they would feel more confident if they had more frequent conversations with their managers.
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The phrases “more frequent” and “more feedback” keep coming up, but what is the current situation for most employees? “More frequent” than what? Annual reviews, biannual reviews? According to Gallup research, 19% of employees receive feedback once per year or less, while 28% of employees only receive feedback a few times a year.
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Perhaps it’s no surprise then that 74% of millennials say they feel “in the dark” about how their performance is perceived by managers and coworkers. And 62% have felt “blindsided” by a review, unaware of a past mistake or job performance problem.
All of which begs the question, how often should performance appraisals be done?
Gallup found that 21% of millennial employees and 18% of non-millennials meet with their manager on a weekly basis. And currently, only 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in setting goals. But those employees who are included in goal-setting are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged in their work.
So, weekly feedback meetings are a good baseline for managers. These don’t need to be as structured and formal as traditional annual reviews. A simple ten-minute check-in conversation opens the door for employees to ask questions, managers to provide constructive coaching, and both to collaborate on problem-solving.
These short weekly meetings can be paired with monthly meetings where goals and long-term career plans are discussed. These types of meetings show employees that the company is invested in their future growth and development, which can boost engagement and employee retention.
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The good news is that 77% of HR executives surveyed report that more-frequent (weekly or monthly) conversations are their top performance management priority. So, many organizations are on the right track. The key now is turning that goal into reality by revamping the performance review process.