At almost every company, you can always tell when it’s annual performance review time of year. And that’s because it’s difficult to decipher which group is groaning louder at the mere mention of the words – managers or employees.

Many managers see performance reviews as an empty exercise foisted on them by their HR departments; and employees overwhelmingly believe that performance reviews are a waste of their valuable time.

A recent U.S. poll of 2,677 people found that 98 per cent of staff found annual performance reviews to be unnecessary. And a UK study found that “half of public sector workers and one-third of business leaders describe appraisals as a box-ticking exercise.”

So in light of such scathing reviews and brutal honesty, what is a business to do?

Well unfortunately, like in many discussions, everyone is quick to point out what’s wrong with the system but fail to offer any tangible alternatives to the process.

The reality is you don’t need an alternative to performance reviews. What you need is to ensure that the process is always meeting the needs of your business and your employees. Because more often than not the process becomes so hated because the tool has become stagnant and therefore irrelevant.

If you haven’t recently reviewed your performance appraisal process, it’s time to take a fresh look. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your managers using the process to appraise the person or the person in the job?
  • Do your managers and employees understand the purpose of the process and how it benefits not only their individual roles and goals but also the future direction of the company?
  • Does it clearly tie into your compensation strategy?
  • Does the process and outcome of the process tie into your core values?
  • Does the tool engage and inspire your employees?

Performance reviews are an essential component of every successful business. If it has become a box-ticking, cut and paste ordeal for both managers and employees, it’s not the review that is the problems, it’s the tool.

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