Employees want real-time reviews, study shows
- While 94% of executives "remain confident" in their current review processes, a new study shows that 61% of employees feel the traditional performance review is outdated. Some feel it's too generic (22%), too infrequent (6%) and frequently incomplete (62%), according to The Growth Divide Study, conducted by Wakefield Research for Reflektive.
- Although almost 70% of employers still use the annual or bi-annual performance review system, more than half of the employees surveyed want reviews at least once a month. And nearly all (94%) prefer that managers address performance issues and development opportunities in real-time. Reflektive said frequent check-ins allow managers the agility to coach and change behaviors to address skills gaps and shifting strategies.
- Additionally, 68% of executives said they found out about employees’ issues or concerns for the first time during performance evaluations, even though 86% of executives said they think their organization would benefit from checking in with employees more often. And nearly 50% of employees said they don't feel comfortable raising issues with their managers between formal reviews, but that they would be more proactive about doing so (75%) if managers gave them more frequent feedback.
A lot can happen in a year, or even in six months, and managers that don't keep detailed records of employee progress, setbacks or incidents must rely on memory when it's performance review time.
According to Reflektive's study, 67% of managers admit they removed negative feedback from evaluations because so much time had gone by and the feedback was no longer relevant. Real-time reviews allow managers to focus on and address current incidents, eliminating questions about whether old feedback still applies. Such an approach is also key to continuously developing employees and ensuring they know they are appreciated when they do something well, for example.
A 2015 Human Capital Institute study found that the least liked function for managers after firing someone is giving performance reviews. And more than half of managers reschedule or delay reviews because they didn't have enough time to prepare for them. Instead, shorter meetings that take place throughout the year may require less prep time.
The trouble with traditional performance reviews is that they focus on employees' past behavior instead of future goals, according to Kimberly Dempsey Schaufenbuel, senior vice president of talent management for the University of North Carolina. In a white paper, Why Traditional Performance Management Systems Aren’t Working, she said that managers can act more like coaches and work with employees on setting goals and discovering development opportunities for the future, whether they conduct traditional or real-time reviews. Focusing on the future can be a more positive approach to employee engagement.