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Reasons Why Performance Reviews Might Become Obsolete

by Jody Ordioni

Reasons Why Performance Reviews Might Become Obsolete

Performance reviews are an indicator that measures the input of the employees to the gains made by the company. However, in the new normal, it is quite possible that this traditional cycle might come to an end. Here, we try to understand why performance reviews are going to be a thing of the past.

Performance Reviews – The Thing of the Past

Companies are fast realizing that the workforce is experiencing a cultural shift. Thus, rather than annual performance reviews, there is a greater emphasis on a conversation-style update that can take place more frequently. Instead of focusing on ratings, companies are looking for starting conversations among managers and employees, with the former ironing out the problems with the latter. Three areas are highlighted- results, culture, and learning.

Results are an important part of any business. On top of that, businesses are realizing that a robust and diverse culture can generate better and creative ideas. However, the renewed emphasis on learning shows that businesses care for their employees and about their professional growth. Thus, they provide them opportunities to upskill. Assessment through conversation becomes a two-way street, wherein, employees are also able to negotiate their working conditions, such as remote working, flexible schedules, etc.

Employers are increasingly engaging their employees in such conversations (even biweekly meetings are taking place). The success of these programs is not dependent only on their frequency but also on the quality of the conversation. The 'review' should help the employees perform their tasks better.

The Virtual Workspaces are Making Employees Work for Long

In lieu of the pandemic, workspaces have become virtual for a significant portion of the workforce. This means that everyone has to work longer hours to ensure the smooth flow of work. Performance reviews also have to be amped up because every employee is anxious in this uncertain job market. This is why one-on-one conversations are needed that honestly tell employees whether their work is up to the mark or not. Revised policies and ease of access for employees are required to ensure that they take into account the feedback that is being given to them. Most importantly, the changes being made now have to stick, even after the pandemic. Increased frequency of communication will precede generic performance reviews.

Now that the foreseeable future will be spent working from our homes, companies have to assure flexibility in the work schedule for the employees. The main concern of supervisors is to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. Employees should then get the leeway of deciding when to work if they are competently doing their work.

Bringing in the Culture of Feedback

Another tactic that can be helpful in doing away with performance reviews is establishing a system where colleagues can evaluate and appreciate each other's performance. This feedback mechanism is usually called 'Call for Applause'. As the name suggests, it is a mechanism wherein employees, who go above and beyond are acknowledged and appreciated for their work. Especially now, that team interaction has been cut short, a chance to get together (virtually) would be a great boost for morale. Recognition is also a great motivation for employees to put in more effort. This also allows employees to gauge how they are doing, without being dependent on yearly performance reviews.

The primary reason companies conduct performance reviews is to determine whether employees are meeting the goals allotted to them or not. However, the capabilities of individual employees should also be taken into account before deciding whether they are meeting these goals or not. This has to be kept in mind, especially now, when many employees are finding a sudden shift to work-from-home challenging. In that case, objectives have to be altered to match the pace at which work can be realistically accomplished. Traditional performance reviews cannot adequately measure the efforts of the employees when they are not working in traditional conditions.

The Bottom Line

Innovation and creativity need unconditional support from organizations. If your company is witnessing a slump in productivity and you cannot figure out why then maybe it is time to revamp those annual performance reviews. The need of the hour is to understand the undercurrent of change that is happening in the workforce and adjust the tools to reflect that change. If organizations cannot connect to their employees, then they'd have no choice but to move to different organizations.

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