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4 Ways to Use Technology to Make Performance Reviews Less Painful

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Erin Cushing
on August 24, 2016

No matter whether you’re a manager or an employee, odds are that when you hear the phrase “performance review”, a little shiver goes down your spine. You’re not alone – 37% of employees think performance reviews are outdated, and 1/3 of business leaders view performance reviews as “to-do list items” to push through. Such negative outlooks can only come from poor performance review experiences; is there a way to make performance reviews actually useful to employees, and less laborious for managers? Can we make the performance review less painful?

We say yes. Here are our four tips to create and distribute performance reviews that enable managers to better track and communicate employee performance, and that empowers employees to improve their individual performance:

Make Performance Measurable and Visible – A robust performance review software solution can help employees correlate the work they do every day to company and organizational goals. This insight not only benefits employees by making sure their personal goals align with the organization’s higher level goals, but it also helps them with career advancement by offering them a deeper level of insight into how individual contributors affect business outcomes. For example, if an employee wants to improve on team management skills, he or she can identify a goal with their manager that requires leading brainstorming and collaborative decision-making sessions or identifying and analyzing team member skills and delegating appropriate tasks. Employee motivation is crucial to performance, so communicating expectations and answering the question of “what’s in it for me?” helps employees focus on priorities, understand how their work is meaningful and make better contributions.

Provide More Feedback, from More Sources, More Often – One of the biggest flaws in traditional performance reviews is the time gap. Reviews are usually yearly, but it is a tall order to expect a single manager and single employee to remember, rate, and comment on 12 months’ worth of tasks, goals, and accomplishments. Furthermore, this backwards-gazing type of review doesn’t offer an employee much help on current projects, and instead can devolve into a series of “could have, should have, would have” conversations about past projects. Instead, using multiple technologies, such as video and social collaboration, within a performance management system allows stakeholders to react in real-time to employee performance, which allows for immediate course correction and provides a historical timeline of information for the yearly review. Additionally, these technologies can be used to collect feedback not just from managers, but from colleagues and other business leaders in order to provide a more well-rounded, 360 degree assessment of performance.

Arm Managers with Data – The reality of work life is that most managers haven’t actually been trained to manage people effectively, and may struggle with coaching or giving difficult feedback in review sessions, which leads to an unproductive meeting. Or they may lack information to give pointed, actionable feedback around an employee’s performance. Employees who don’t receive regular feedback may have increased anxiety during review times because they don’t have real insight into their performance or their manager’s expectations. A strong performance management system not only helps document progress as outlined above, but provides managers with detailed visibility into employee performance so they can identify and reward top performers or help struggling employees make adjustments to keep them on track for meeting goals, alleviating anxiety for both employees and managers.

Encourage System Use – Technology is only as good as its adoption rate; no matter how much functionality your performance system might have, it is useless if managers and employees can’t understand how to use it – or the data that it provides. Compelling graphics, visual data presentation and even game-like task administration can make using the system fun while providing employees and managers with the data they need to accomplish their goals.

A dynamic performance review process, powered by the right performance management software, can help organizations increase employee engagement, reduce turnover and inspire greater productivity and performance. Learn why PeopleFluent has been named a Leader in enterprise performance management by industry analysts at IDC and technology buyers across the globe: read the IDC MarketScape report here.


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