Over the past few years, there’s been an on-again/off-again conversation about performance management, specifically the performance review. Companies have tried quarterly check-ins instead of annual reviews. They’ve tried eliminating the annual review altogether. Honestly, I’m not sure that any of these concepts has gained widespread corporate adoption.
And that’s exactly the point. Performance management – which includes the annual performance review – needs to be unique to the organization. Not a business trend. Performance management is about setting expectations, having conversations, offering guidance, and holding individuals accountable.
Last year, I think there were plenty of organizations that let performance slide given the uncertainty and unique circumstances we were under. And even though we’re not back to any form of normal, I don’t see that happening again in 2021. Organizations are going to put performance – both individual and organizational – back in the spotlight. Here are a few articles about performance management that might help organizations get their processes back on track.
There’s more to performance management than the annual performance review. All the pieces of performance management need to work together to achieve its goal, which is better employee performance. So, even if an organization has recently completed a revamp of the performance review process, it’s possible that they will want to examine performance management again in the context of this new hybrid workplace we’re facing.
The 360 feedback review process helps employees, managers, and organizations focus holistically on performance and performance behaviors. But the implementation takes some preparation both in terms of making sure that employees give relevant feedback and are prepared to receive current, valuable feedback.
One of the most challenging aspects in the performance review process is overcoming biases. A bias is defined as “a prejudice in favor of or against someone or something”. While all biases are not negative, biases can have a negative impact on employee performance. Employees expect their performance reviews to be fair and free of biases.
None of us likes to have a negative performance conversation. I always try to remember the purpose – it’s to help an employee change their behavior. If the conversation stays focused on helping the employee be successful, then hopefully it never escalates to disciplinary action. And the employee understands that the manager and the company are having this conversation because they want the employee to be successful.
The key to a successful performance management process is having one that works for the organization. If annual reviews are working for your company, great! If your organization finds that something else works, do it! In 2021, organizations are going to focus on what delivers results for them and create performance management processes that support significant results.14