Here’s Why You Can Cross Performance Reviews off Your Year-End List…Forever

Dread year-end performance reviews? You’re in good company. It turns out, they’re not particularly effective anyway, especially according to millennials. A study from human resources provider TriNet found the traditional performance-review process can negatively impact many millennials’ attitudes about their jobs and employers. In fact, nearly 30 percent of the workers surveyed have looked for a new job after a performance review. What do they want instead? More frequent, consistent feedback.

Keep reading for more perspectives on why the current process is broken, and what forward-thinking companies are doing instead.

Effective Feedback Isn’t a One-Time Only, One-Way Street

“Millennials would prefer that performance reviews be a chance to have a conversation with their boss rather than just an opportunity for their manager to rate their performance on each aspect of their job. More than 30 percent of the millennials surveyed said they dislike when their supervisors don’t give them a chance to share their thoughts on their own performance during their reviews. … Rather than only hearing about how well, or poorly, they’re doing once or twice a year, millennials want consistent and ongoing feedback. The study found that 32 percent of those surveyed think reviews have replaced regular feedback.”BusinessNewsDaily.

Goodbye Rank and Ratings, Hello Direction and Coaching

“Millennials … are eager to jump in and lead, but can also make some rookie mistakes. … It looks like that traditional, once-a-year performance review just won’t cut it for us. Research shows Millennials are preferably looking for feedback from their manager once a month, compared to non-Millennials who prefer less frequent updates. To move forward with our careers, we need and want direction and coaching, but the ranking- and rating-based systems are the antithesis of what the Millennial employee desires.” Saba.

The Key Word Is ‘Consistent’

“What if your Fitbit sent you an email update at the end of the year telling you how well you did? It’s difficult to connect one-and-done feedback—like the traditional annual performance review—to active change. Consistent feedback is important for millennials, so when it’s time for a more formal conversation to take place they aren’t blindsided. Give employees time to react and understand potential roadblocks so they can alter their actions prior to a formal review.”SUCCESS Magazine.

Millennials Want Feedback Every Day

“Today, many companies are evolving their annual review processes in favor of a more regular performance management structure. Just take a look at companies like GAP, Microsoft and Deloitte, which have all decided that giving feedback on a consistent basis could have tremendous benefits for their companies. In fact, providing feedback on a regular basis is a significant way to retain millennial employees. Millennials want more from their job than a paycheck and benefits. They seek to make an impact in everything they do, which means the companies they work for should help them develop professionally. According to research from TinyPulse, 42 percent of millennials want feedback every week. For millennials, feedback is a form of coaching.”BetterWorks.

Ongoing Feedback Yields Better Results

“When Adobe ditched annual reviews, it replaced them with check-ins that take place at least bimonthly (and sometimes more frequently), allowing managers to find out how things are going on a more regular basis. The logic behind these frequent touch-points is to head off the anxiety that builds up to a single, 12-month discussion. And it creates the expectation that the conversation on an employee’s performance is ongoing, not a make-or-break annual event. The more often you check in, the more fluid and honest those conversations can become. By keeping the lines of communication open, employees can get more familiar with their supervisors’ expectations of them and feel better equipped to address any concerns in real time.” Fast Company.

Accenture Says Goodbye to Annual Performance Reviews

“Our job as leaders is to create the right environment for this new generation to flourish in their careers—we shouldn’t expect them to adjust to the status quo. And nowhere is this more true than in the area of performance management. This is why Accenture has taken a bold step of saying good-bye to annual performance reviews. No longer will we rely on forced rankings and comparisons of employees to peers around the globe to measure performance. No longer will we fill out time-consuming assessment forms that focus on the past. It’s not what we need, and it’s not how the millennial generation wants to be recognized. The focus is on the future and how—through frequent, timely and individualized coaching discussions—people can improve their performance, develop professionally and achieve their career aspirations.” LinkedIn.

How do you give feedback at your organization? I’d love to hear your best practices. Tell me below in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, and the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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