10 Things Your Performance Review Tool Doesn’t Have, But You Definitely Need

Mid-year performance reviews have come around, and your organization is scrambling to fill out forms while you’re sending email reminders of deadlines. At the same time, you’re probably getting ready to plan the next process. There are always a few headaches that come out of a company-wide review, and for most organizations, their needs for reviews change as the company grows and updates its objectives. Especially when you adopt new software and onboard your whole company, you hope to be using it for quite some time. It’s important to choose a tool that is adaptable.

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At Reflektive, all of our customers use our solution differently — no two companies have their reviews set up the same way. We make a few recommendations based on best practices, like suggesting managers go over the review with reports in person, but we enable companies to put together the review process that makes the most sense for their culture.

As you’re thinking about what to do to make the next review most effective, here’s some things you should consider that will make reviews much easier for you and employees.

1. Question Targeting

Create questions for specific groups on the review survey. Many companies have questions that apply only to their engineering team, and then want another set of questions that will go only to sales. Some questions go only to managers, some go only to non-managers. Everyone still answers the same set of core questions.

2. Side-By-Side View

Allow your managers to see their reports’ self response and peer responses while they fill out the manager review. This helps managers provide specific examples and base scores and feedback on a holistic view of the employee’s accomplishments.

This helps managers provide specific examples and base scores and feedback on a holistic view of the employee’s accomplishments.

3. Real-Time Feedback

Collect feedback and recognition throughout the year, and show it in the review survey for your quarterly, bi-annual or annual review. You can see all the posts other people made about you (or about your reports), and this makes it easier to write the review, combatting recency bias and enabling you to be more specific with examples.

4. Anonymity

There’s a lot of differing opinions on whether to do anonymous feedback in performance reviews. For your 360 review, Reflektive allows a few options: to be fully anonymous, so employees see feedback from Peer 1, Peer 2, and so on; fully non-anonymous, where everybody sees the name of the person who wrote the feedback; and mixed, so a manager sees names, but the employee (who is the subject of the feedback) does not.

As a side note, this last option means the manager can follow up with the person who wrote the feedback if they need to and ensure the feedback being given is constructive.

5. Hidden Questions

Include a question that the employee does not answer or see. One example of this is the question, “Do you recommend this person for a promotion?” The manager and possibly peers would answer this, and the manager and admins would see the results, but the employee does not see the question or results.

6. One-Way 360

Companies that are torn on the anonymity feature may be interested in this one. With this setting, all peer feedback goes to manager, and none of it gets shared with employee. We recommend this for a company that wants to do 360 reviews but don’t think employees are ready for direct feedback.

The manager is able to see what peers have to say about each report, and then summarize and apply it to their own review.

The manager is able to see what peers have to say about each report, and then summarize and apply it to their own review. This also works well for companies with younger employees who are not experienced in receiving constructive feedback.

7. Customized Results

Once reviews are completed, what’s the best way for employees to access them? Reflektive offers three main ways: the digital version through the web, a PDF, or a physical version.

The results are available for the employee, their manager, indirect managers (i.e., your boss’s boss), and admins. For larger companies with multiple admins in the HR department, we can assign segments of the company to each admin for better privacy.

8. Calibration

For organizations using performance scores, especially for compensation, calibration is a delicate process managed uniquely at each company. Reflektive allows admins to set a deadline and lock the score question on a performance review so managers can continue to fill out qualitative feedback on their own time even as calibration meetings take place.

The score results can also be downloaded to a file, easily edited in a program such as Excel, then re-uploaded into the digital version. Another option is to turn off managers’ ability to share their reviews until after calibration is completed, so the wrong versions of scores are not accidentally shared with employees. You definitely need this one!

9. Peer Review Limits

Set a minimum and maximum number of peer reviews — for example Goldman Sachs recently reduced peer reviews to come from six peers instead of 10.

You can also allow an employee to decline a review

You can also allow an employee to decline a review — perhaps they haven’t spent that much time working with that individual — the manager who assigned it will be notified and can select a different reviewer. Admins are given reporting to see how many peer reviews employees are asked to give, and can step in if someone is asked to do too many.

10. Goals in Reviews

For goal-driven companies, a big part of the review is each employee’s progress on goals. Instead of duplicating goals when you set up your review survey, Reflektive can pull goals into the review form automatically. Goals are copied in as questions on performance review, and can be answered with your rating, a text response, or both.