Three Alternatives to Annual Reviews

The annual performance review is a business mainstay everyone is familiar with. But the fact is, annual reviews are not that useful – they really do little to improve an employee’s performance. They have become so routine simply because of inertia. Companies go through the procedure every year as a matter of course without really evaluating its effectiveness.

Moreover, many companies do not offer much instruction to managers for performance reviews. As a result, they are far from uniform throughout an organization. The way an employee is evaluated depends on who is doing the evaluating. Because performance reviews have such limited utility, companies are trying alternative feedback measures. Here are three.

3 Different Ways To Assess Employees

1. Check-ins

These are simply frequent short meetings that managers have with individual employees. It is a way of giving ongoing feedback to workers, which is much more effective than getting it only once a year. For some managers, this is nothing new. But too few practice this type of communication.

Having these informal meetings often shows employees that they are valued. Meeting with them individually adds a personal dimension which can help to foster good relationships.

2. Using apps

More companies are using apps as a replacement for or as a supplement to performance reviews, which enables more constant feedback. Some companies also have technology that enables employees to reconfigure the app to better respond to their needs, for example, a visual that compares feedback in the past to current feedback.

Some companies have incorporated suggestions from employees when developing the app.

3. Walking around (Physically and Virtually)

Management by walking around is a more established approach, and it has been around a while precisely because of its effectiveness.

There is nothing complicated about it – the manager walks around on a regular basis and chats with employees about their work and to get feedback from them. When using this approach, however, the manager needs to make sure he or she does not favor some workers over others, but makes an effort to talk with everyone on his team. And the manager needs to make clear to workers that he just there for a casual chat and to listen, not to evaluate or check on people.

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