There continues to be a lot of chatter about performance reviews. Love them or hate them. Keep them or ditch them. We’ve written about performance reviews before – here’s one of our faves. Performance reviews aren’t a one-size-fits-all process. They have tremendous flexibility and, what might seems like a small detail (like when the review is conducted), can actually have a big impact.
For example, the first performance review that most employees experience is the introductory review. Some people might use the term probationary period, but here’s a good article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on why you should stick with the word “introductory”. The purpose of this review is to let a new hire employee know the things they’re doing well and the areas they need to focus on or improve. It’s a great opportunity to set expectations and let an employee know how performance is evaluated in the organization. Since it’s the first review an employee receives, it’s important to do it on time. As I’ve said before, “no news is good news” is not a performance management philosophy.
Most annual reviews are either conducted on the employee’s anniversary date or a focal (common) date. There are pros and cons to each method.
Anniversary Date Performance Review
Pros: It lightens the manager’s workload. Reviews are spread out over the course of the year. It has the potential to improve the quality of the review because manager’s have more time to write comments and meet with employees.
Cons: The process is always happening which means that changes or updates could be harder to implement. It can also be more challenging to set goals because the company’s goal setting process and employee’s performance review aren’t necessarily in alignment.
Common Date Performance Review
Pros: The process involves less administration because it happens over 2-3 months versus a year. It also allows HR to offer refresher training at the same time each year so managers have the process fresh in their minds. The process can be timed with the communication of company goals, so everyone is in alignment.
Cons: Managers with large spans of control have a huge amount of work. It raises two questions: 1) Are managers comparing employee performance to other employees or the company standard? And are the later reviews being given the same attention as the earlier ones?
If part of your annual goals is to evaluate the organization’s performance review process, does it make sense to get some feedback about the performance review cycle currently being used? Ask managers what they think about the current process. What do they see as the advantages and disadvantages? Also ask human resources and payroll for their feedback. They might have a unique perspective.
I’m not saying that performance reviews couldn’t use an update to be more in line with today’s business climate. But I do think there are variables – like performance reviews cycles – that impact the perception of the process and the outcomes.
What type of performance review cycle does your organization use? Share your experience!
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby0