Trailbridge LLC | Eliminate Performance Reviews, not Performance Discussions
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Eliminate Performance Reviews, not Performance Discussions

Eliminate Performance Reviews, not Performance Discussions

The past couple of years have seen big headlines that performance management, as we know it, is dramatically changing. Very large companies, like Deloitte and Accenture, have eliminated traditional reviews.

Many of us are probably thinking, “Thank goodness! No more performance reviews!” Even as a talent and organizational development professional, I am the first to admit that I find annual reviews to be drudgery; they are time consuming and frequently feel like check-the-box exercises.

However, if you delve deeper, “eliminating performance reviews” really means that organizations are moving away from having formal performance discussions only once or twice a year, and moving toward more frequent, real-time performance discussions. This means that how someone is performing is no longer a mystery unveiled at (bi-)annual reviews. Performance is discussed openly – and frequently – between managers and reporting individuals.

It sounds simple: Regularly clue people in to how they are doing…See how individuals adjust behaviors based on these conversations…Discuss again.  We already do this!  However, I’ve found that some managers do this well and others do not.

Before you decide if your organization has frequent performance discussions covered, we suggest that you have managers reflect on three questions:

  1. Do I frequently spend time in 1:1 check-ins having real performance dialogues? Do we discuss an individual’s outcomes, strengths/challenges, and how to achieve better results?  (Or do we spend time discussing projects and daily tasks?)
  2. How often do we meet? Do we have and keep regularly scheduled 1:1 meetings?
  3. Am I equipped with enough data points to be able to frequently discuss and address the full spectrum of reporting individuals’ performance?  Do I have regular firsthand observations of individuals and their work outcomes? Do I routinely gather insights from others?

Through answering these questions, best practices, inconsistencies, and gaps will emerge.  It will also open the door for a discussion about the optimal frequency, content, and format for performance discussions in your organization, as well as when and how performance should be evaluated.

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