Employee Reviews: Why You Should Keep Them and Fix Them (2023)

Employee reviews have gotten a lot of attention lately. They are seen as outdated, wasteful and inefficient processes. From the HR department to the manager to the clerk who picks them up, they are all hated.

Reasons for this hatred include:

  • time consuming:Managers spend a lot of time writing a 12-month review for each employee, and HR managers spend even longer organizing and keeping track of everything.
  • Bad memory:Reviews often don't represent everyone's work. Instead, it's based on some strong memories and events from the past few weeks.
  • Shock and surprise:Employees are often surprised when they first receive feedback that now has a direct impact on their pay and promotion prospects for the coming year.
  • improper:When you're given a list of 20 things that need to be changed or improved, it's hard to spot any of them, let alone change anything.
  • Cultural gift:Stack ranking as part of employee performance evaluationis described continuousarrivehinder teamworkand destroy morale.

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When a campaign has so many questions (andmuch more), no wonder there are calls for its complete abolition. But is it the right move?

As the saying goes,"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."Instead, it's worth focusing on what needs to be changed, while also remembering the good reasons why it was created in the first place.

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Staff reviews are pretty good. There were good intentions behind their creations and there are still some good ones today. The key is to recognize the problems and try to fix them, while embracing the usefulness and purpose of the review.

So before you step into the brave new world of no reviews at all, consider what it takes to review and how you can fix some of their biggest problems.

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1) It is good to think in fixed time.

This is one of the simplest yet most important review factors. By setting a fixed evaluation time, you can address some important questions:

Question number 1:When will people receive pay changes?

Without comments, this becomes a big question: how do you decide when people get raises and promotions? When people ask at inconvenient times (for example, when the budget is unclear) or multiple times a year, making them ad hoc can get your manager into trouble.

On the other hand, it can also affect sales. Leaders who are not given time to reevaluate employee compensation can easily hesitate to give raises to employees who deserve it. Ultimately, these workers will seek to increase their wages by taking jobs elsewhere.

Question number 2:How do I know what I really look like?

Without a review, it's hard to judge performance. While there are many advantages to regular feedback (more on that later), it is also useful to narrow the field and gain a cumulative view of individual performance.

By scheduling time to sit down and discuss an employee's long-term performance, managers can gain a clearer picture of whether someone's trend is up, down, or stable.

With no set time to look back and reflect, it is easy for underperformers to be overlooked when they fall short of the mark for a period of time. It can also lead to prolonged periods of unrecognized accomplishments by top employees.

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A story: Can't see the forest for the trees

Administrators usedlighthouseFaced with a common problem: They have been discussing improvements with employees for a while, but they don't know how long. By reviewing the employee's performance and reviewing previous one-on-one interviews, they determined that the individual's performance had been unacceptable for too long.

If they hadn't stopped to think, they could have gone on for a few more months. Because they take their time, they let that person go by clearly explaining why.

Question number 3:When do people get promoted?

The simple answer seems to be"When they're ready"But this creates a lot of problems. With fixed dates, your employees will know when they will be assessed. It gives them something worth fighting for.

When there is no set time to consider their readiness, managers can easily say:"Not now, wait until the matter subsides."While postponing the conversation may be harmless, it can be frustrating, frustrating, and suffocating for top performers, even those who just want to know if they're still on track a year or two from now.

This can also cause problems for your business on a macro level. By evaluating everyone at the same time, you can plan budget and org chart changes. Getting rid of employee performance reviews as an unstructured ad-hoc event that may or may not always be delayed. Neither is a good outcome.

Employee evaluations often fail to address these issues. However, having a conversation with your employees about a long-term view of the past and future is better than talking about nothing. Without deadlines, the best intentions often fail.

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2) Use one-to-one as a complementnot a substitutecritic

Today's hot HR trend is to useone by one.companies likeDeloitte, Adobe, Accenture and General ElectricEveryone put a lot of pressure on the media to proudly announce the change. that's because that workedGreat impact:

  • General Electric Companyhe is capable"Driving inFive times more productiveIn the past 12 months"Many very fruitful improvement ideas were generated both within and outside the organization through one-on-one discussions.
  • adobeI see a "Sacher alpha30%Reduce voluntary turnover
  • DeloitteAccording to reports, their employees"yesexcitedaround this process".

While we strongly advocate for more companies to engage in one-on-one conversations, it doesn't have to be an either-or decision. You can have both. They can complement each other very well.

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You can make one-on-one calls and maintain your ratings.

havemany advantagesThis allows your employees to have a private conversation with their supervisor. It provides an opportunity to focus on things that are important to the employee, such as: B. Relationship issues, a desire for feedback or mentoring, or a discussion of their growth and development.

It performed very well, as former Intel CEO Andy Grove wrotehigh output management,"90 minutes of your time (in a one-on-one interview) can improve the quality of your subordinate's work for two weeks or 80-plus hours."

Individual interviews for employee performance evaluationbetter one.

If you conduct personal interviews at your company, you can keep performance reviews of your employees. In fact, it's important in one-on-one conversationspromoteyour comment:

  1. Build faster and better:when amanager is taking notesIn one-on-one situations, they can now refer to the record when writing a review. This eliminates the problem of managers only remembering the past few weeks or wasting time trying to remember things to write down.
  2. No surprises:When administrators use their personal phonesgive feedbackand set expectationsImprove, any assessment in a performance review will be a summary, not what they heard for the first time.
  3. Skip comments:When you're talking about important topics and opportunities during an audit, it's easy to stop having that conversation until the next audit. One-on-ones provide the perfect venue to continue working on these things, resulting in real progress that you'll consider in your next revision.

Making your managers more comfortable with one-on-one meetings can also ease the burden of performance reviews. Instead of trying to pack everything into a review, they are able to address multiple issues and opportunities before the next review arrives. This turns most of your criticism into an endorsement of the ongoing discussion.

Start with the right leg one by one.

It is important that your leaders receive support and guidanceGet the most out of your one-on-one meetings.Otherwise, they may feel like yet another must-have in their schedule. With the right help, you and your team will look forward to it, and your employee performance reviews will improve as a result.

[Editor's Note: If you want to talk one-on-one,Lighthouse can help.They have features designed for individual managers, department heads, and HR teams. ]

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3) Repeat the evaluation process without throwing it away.

Yes, many employee reviews are problematic. However, that doesn't mean you have to ball it up and throw it away.

Instead, see what's not working and try to fix those. Here are some common problems and how others have solved them:

1. Don't use heap rankings, or give people points.

There is strong evidence that stack rank makes a differencemore bad than good.It pits teammates against each other, hurts high-performing teams, and hamstrings managers. The video highlights some of the negative aspects of what's going on:

More and more companies are doing thisleaveThey are after seeing how the process damages morale and attachment behavior. Although they have been downgraded, most are still under review. You just realized that you can rate people without forcing them into a bell curve.

2. Pay attention to the questions you ask.

We are all biased in ways we are unaware of.researcherMichael Mount, Steven Scullen, and Maynard Goff found that when you ask someone to rate another person's skills, the rating you give someone reflects the actual skills of the rater, not the person being graded:

“In this study, two supervisors, two colleagues, and two subordinates rated 4,492 managers on specific performance dimensions and found that 62 percent of the variance in ratings was due to the idiosyncratic perceptions of individual raters. Actual performance was only Accounted for 21% of the difference."

Deloitte knew this and tried to reframe the question about performance.Discover DeloitteIn their experiments,"People may be inconsistent in their assessments of others' abilities, but they are remarkably consistent in their assessments of their own feelings and intentions."

Better questions, better outcomes.

Deloitte's findings led them to develop these simple, straightforward questions to help their managers assess their teams:

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These simple questions get to the heart of what most reviewers want to know: Is this person doing well? Do they deserve a raise or promotion? Are there any major issues that need improvement?

This simplicity saves Deloitte managers time while meeting performance audit requirements. Don't complicate things.

Google measures its administrators.

Google also did extensive research and experimentation on the issues raised in the reviews.

First of all, herCharacter AnalysisThe team uncovered key behaviors for effective and motivating managers. They then turned those behaviors into questions asking their teams to rate their coaches. This had a huge impact on them, as Laszlo Bock writes extensively in his book:work rules.For details, seeHere's the story.

If you think your employee performance reviews aren't working today, try changing the questions you ask. Try to remove some, simplify or express more directly what you want to know. You'll be surprised how it leads to better results and less reviewer resistance.

3. Get feedback and ideas from your employees.

One of the similarities between leading companies that are changing the way they evaluate employee performance is the way they listen to their employees. By measuring impact and involving employees in the process, they achieved better results.

Part of the resistance many people feel about giving reviews is that they are ordered to do so. Nobody likes being forced to do anything.

By including them in the process and listening to their feedback, they feel a level of ownership. Making small changes based on their feedback will improve ratings and help earn their approval. This saves you a lot of time and effort pestering your manager to fill out forms.

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Laszloblog, Google's VP of People, has used this experimental process successfully several times at Google. He found that good things happen when you involve your people rather than dictate, ask for feedback, and call it an experiment:

  • They are temporary:Experiments have a fixed time period during which you can observe the results and take further action.
  • Expected changes:Experimentation is learning and repetition. You know that even if the problem is a bombshell, you will try to make things better.
  • Opportunities for comments:Since they are part of the experiment, this helps create the expectation that they can help improve things and that their opinions are valued.

Don't force yourself to know all the answers. Solicit good ideas and feedback from your colleagues and you'll be surprised how it can improve the evaluation process.


Employee performance reviews must be updated based on overwhelming evidence of their problems. New habits must also be developed so managers can better retain and motivate employeesnew generationEnter the working world.

However, you don't have to be completely devoid of performance reviews to achieve this. Otherwise, you lose the main benefits of buying them:

  • Reflect on past accomplishments and limit daily life.
  • Set expectations for when compensation and promotions are reviewed.
  • Create a time to discuss the employee's past and future that might not otherwise be possible.

You can improve your reviews by focusing on iterations and experiments and focusing on root causes. With a few small changes like the questions asked or adding individual questions to bridge the assessment, you can make all the changes you need to make your employee performance reviews even better.

Further reading:

If you are interested in learning more about improving or replacing performance reviews, you may find these posts helpful:

Want to learn more about one-on-one meetings?This post is one of dozens we have to help you look your best for any occasion.Here's our comprehensive guide to one-on-one interviews.

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