Transform the Annual Review Process for the Better

Joe Weinlick
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More and more companies continue to get rid of or augment the traditional annual review model. Reasons for this include maintaining lower turnover rates and increasing employee satisfaction. Despite changes towards a more fluid performance review standard thanks to computer software tools, HR experts on the Forbes Human Resources Council still find value in traditional annual performance reviews.

Reduce Paperwork

HR pros often cite 'too much paperwork' as one major hassle regarding an annual review. That's where computer software comes into play. With so many options for companies of all sizes to analyze someone's performance metrics and provide feedback, you can enhance a review with faster and easier methods. Most software has mobile apps that can help keep employees motivated and informed.

Check In

In addition to a traditional annual review process, have monthly or quarterly development check-ins. These check-ins don't have to be long, elaborate discussions about an employee's performance. There would be nothing punitive about these talks, as managers would simply use them to check in with a team member. The idea is to simply get a feel for an employee's attitude and progress at work rather than to discuss any major changes.

Create Constant Feedback

Software tools combined with regular check-ins provide a great platform for constant feedback between employees and supervisors. Talking about performance objectives in an annual review may put your employees too far removed from a situation, while continuous feedback gives everyone a chance to improve right away. More feedback means better preparation for the future and lends to timely responses when certain situations remain fresh in the minds of team members.

Produce Real-time Feedback

Another beauty of software includes the ability to provide real-time feedback in writing. Employees can monitor progress by checking in with the software at any time. Meanwhile, supervisors receive alerts when an employee might need an extra push to get things done.

Hold Informal Reviews

Hold information reviews at regular intervals. This gets employees used to your style of feedback. The key here is to simply talk to workers rather than chastise them for performing poorly. Be encouraging and constructive rather than mentioning less pay or fewer promotions. Save detailed, comprehensive performance reviews for annual talks.

Care About Team Members

When team members succeed, the entire company wins. Reviews, no matter when or how often they happen, should focus on a worker's professional and personal growth. Determine what drives employees while coming up with ways to motivate your workforce.

Eschew Completely

You might find that getting rid of the annual review process altogether is the best course of action. Rather than have raw numbers and a scoring system to gauge someone's success or failure, focus on real-time performance goals so supervisors can learn how to truly manage a team.

Performing annual reviews is valuable if you do it correctly. However, there are plenty of viable resources if you feel your workers need a different system or extra encouragement to perform at their highest levels.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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