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By: Kim Moshlak on December 19th, 2023

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5 Tips For Better Performance Reviews

Employee Relations | Employee Engagement | Employee Recognition Program

Performance reviews are an essential part of performance management. Reviews help you identify strengths and weaknesses, work on professional development plans, and reward your best team members with bonuses. 

But is your performance review process actually producing those results? 

Sometimes, your performance reviews require their own performance review. As we start a new year, now is a great time to see if your current process is aligned with your team and your goals. 

5 ideas for better performance reviews in 2024

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to performance reviews. Your process depends on several unique factors, such as your organizational culture, your management structure, and the split between remote and in-office workers. 

However, there are a few things to consider if you're looking to improve your performance review strategy. 

Download the guide: 20 Question to Ask Your HR Leader

1. Think about a rating-free system

Traditionally, performance reviews have relied on objective metrics. Employees are awarded a score reflecting their previous contribution, and their bonus is tied to that score. 

However, this system doesn't always have the desired effect on engagement and commitment. Many employers are transitioning to a rating-free system that assesses employees through qualitative feedback and conversations with leaders. 

The benefit of a rating-free system is that it encourages continuous improvement. Rather than making everything about the employee's year-end rating, each team member is involved in an ongoing dialog about how to succeed.   

2. Offer year-round feedback

The current workforce thrives on frequent and continuous feedback. Gone are the days when annual performance reviews sufficed. Today's employees, particularly younger ones, seek regular engagement and acknowledgment of their contributions.

Businesses must evaluate whether their current performance management program aligns with this need for ongoing feedback and adjust their strategies accordingly. Performance management can be a highly effective way to keep an active pulse on learning and development opportunities for skill enhancement and career growth.

Ensure your managers are comfortable having these coaching conversations and equip them with the tools they need to succeed.  

3. Use the right technology

Effective appraisals require a lot of data. This can include data from several sources: productivity reports, manager appraisals, peer feedback, customer reviews, and self-appraisals. 

Having somewhere to collate and store all of this data is essential. Consider the performance review functionality if you're upgrading your HRIS or other HR platform. You can ask your vendor to provide a tech demo or relevant case studies. 

It's also important to ensure managers know how to use this technology. Provide training and coaching on best practices for using any HRIS tools.

4. Connect feedback to business goals

Did you know 70% of people say their sense of purpose comes from work? That's according to one McKinley study, but it proves something that most leaders understand intuitively: people work harder when they care about the mission. 

Performance reviews are a chance to restate your mission. When discussing an employee's performance, show how it connects to the company's overall strategy and goals. 

Doing this will give people a sense that their work matters. It's a chance to strengthen their bond with the business, which leads to better engagement and lower staff turnover. 

5. Focus on professional development

Every performance review usually ends with a conversation about what happens next. Some employees might need additional support and guidance; others might be ready for a promotion. 

It's helpful to talk about how you will support people through training, coaching, and development. Upskilling is good for the business, as it means you have a more capable team. It's also great for employees, who can keep moving along their desired career paths. 

Annual performance reviews are a great time to reset those development goals, but staying focused all year round is essential. That's why it's helpful to move away from a rigid rating system and instead build a performance review process based on dialog and support. 

Need help with performance reviews? 

In conclusion, evaluating and revising a performance management program is a complex yet vital undertaking for any forward-thinking organization. By addressing the readiness of managers, embracing the need for continuous feedback, seeking external expertise, and leveraging technology, businesses can create a performance management system that aligns with the workforce's needs and contributes to improved productivity and a more robust bottom line.

As the workplace evolves, so must our approach to performance management, ensuring that it remains a catalyst for growth and success. If your organization is searching for the perfect performance management solution, consider reaching out for consulting services, conducting a comprehensive analysis, and embracing technology to pave the way for a more effective and future-ready program. 

Want to talk to an expert? Book a consultation call with Helios HR today, and let's talk about getting your performance management process right. 

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