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Five Ways to Make Performance Reviews Dynamic

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Greg Belkin
on April 11, 2013
Does the phrase “annual performance review” make you shudder? If yes, you’re not alone – nearly 30 million Google results illustrate that managers and employees loathe performance reviews. Yet they’re a necessary evil; without a formal process to manage performance organizations cannot ensure employees hone and develop skills to advance business goals and have their “noses in the same direction” to align effort with desired outcomes.

However, the days of performance management being centered on an annual review are over. Today’s employees want regular feedback on how they’re doing, if they’re achieving appropriate milestones and if not, what support and training is available to progress their skills to ensure they not only receive the right rewards and recognition, but effectively contribute to their company’s success and achieve personal growth goals.

Follow our five tips to create a more dynamic performance review process:

Banish bureaucracy – If your performance review process is a box-ticking exercise for HR, employees and managers won’t connect it to increasing business value. Rather than concentrate on forms and process management, focus on conversations that promote productivity, boost morale and motivate employees to do their best. One way to make performance reviews relevant to all participants is by providing real-time feedback. When performance conversations happen in the moment, it gives employees information they need to improve – not an end of year report on whether they were a model corporate citizen.

Develop measures that matter – A robust performance review software solution can help employees correlate the work they do every day to how the company is delivering on its mission. This 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. For example, if an employee wants to improve on team management skills, he or she can identify a goal 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.

Make it painless – Most managers aren’t trained to manage and may struggle with coaching or giving difficult feedback. Or they may lack information to have productive performance conversations. 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 performance management system not only helps document progress, 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.

Provide more feedback, faster – Smartphone ubiquity has changed the pace of communication. Workers are used to using tweets, emails, internal message boards and other social media to communicate instantly and performance conversations should happen that way as well. There isn’t as much benefit from sitting across a conference room table rehashing a year-in-review synopsis or a list of should-do or must-do items. Companies can use online, mobile and social collaboration technologies to deliver frequent bursts of coaching and in-the-moment recognition for special achievements.

Get your game on – Performance review software should be fun to use. Compelling graphics, visual data presentation and even games can make using the solution fun while providing employees and managers with informative data at their fingertips. Entering some fun into business processes can ease the adoption curve and ensure technology gets used.

A dynamic performance review process can help organizations increase employee engagement, reduce turnover and inspire greater productivity and performance. Linking together the business strategy, personal and professional goals, and career path can support a performance process that provides greater learning opportunities and career control for employees while delivering value for the business.

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