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Do employee performance reviews need a performance review? New research has found that employees are split on the effectiveness of performance reviews. Executives, on the other hand, do not share their feelings.
Overall, nearly one-third of employees called performance reviews either somewhat or very ineffective, while 57 percent of employees felt the reviews were either somewhat or very effective. In stark contrast, 91 percent of executives feel that performance reviews are effective, while just 4 percent feel they are somewhat ineffective and 5 percent did not give them.
"The success or failure of an appraisal depends on how clearly both performance expectations and feedback are communicated to employees," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, which conducted the research. "Managers and their staff should be in agreement at the outset on what criteria will be used to evaluate effectiveness in a given role."
One way to improve the perceived effectiveness of performance reviews is for managers to constantly give feedback to employees. When reviews are only given once or twice a year, they can have the opposite of the intended effect, Messmer said.
"Nothing discussed in a formal evaluation should come as a surprise to the employee," said Messmer, also the author of "Human Resources Kit for Dummies" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006). "The best managers regularly give their teams performance feedback throughout the year."
Other ways to improve the effectiveness of performance reviews, Accountemps said, is to avoid making the following mistakes:
- Do not criticize the person in general.
- Do not sugarcoat the issues and avoid discussing real problems.
- Do not wing it.
- Do not dominate the conversation.
- Do not ask employees to come without an evaluation of themselves.
- Do not focus only on the negative.
- Do not do it alone.
Those conducting performance reviews should instead look at the following steps provided by Accountemps as an example of how to conduct effective employee performance reviews:
- Provide constructive feedback on specific performance issues so staff knows exactly what they need to improve.
- Be upfront about areas for improvement.
- Engage employees. Remember that it is a two-way conversation.
- Ask your team members to conduct a self-assessment of their progress toward goals set during the prior review cycle.
- Tell staff what they are doing well to recognize accomplishments and reinforce positive performance.
- Ask for feedback from other colleagues for a more well-rounded review.
The information in this research was based on the responses of 270 CFOs and 309 employees.