Annual Reviews are Changing or Being Eliminated Altogether

John Krautzel
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The traditional annual review process may face extinction. Organizations are seeking new methods of employee evaluation that emphasize cooperation over competition and help increase the value each employee brings to the company. Look for new additions to the annual review process that incorporate the following trends with a focus on continuous employee improvement.

Using Technology

Technology makes it easy to provide feedback from any location at any time. Performance management software is available to help managers provide timely reviews of their employees' work along with learning plans and goals to help employees perform better. Regular feedback drives continuous improvement, and employees are not left wondering if they did a good job on a specific project. This option is a useful alternative to an annual review, as it lets workers know on a weekly or even daily basis what they are doing right and which areas need strengthening. This type of review software might also include options for coworkers and people in other departments to add input, giving workers and managers more data that helps them make employment-related decisions.

Face-to-Face Conversations

During a traditional annual review, the manager has most of the power and does most of the talking. Many companies are moving toward a more informal evaluation process. One option is for managers to meet individually with employees on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss how things are going. These casual meetings focus primarily on the employee's needs and perceptions about their position. Instead of doling out a numeric or scaled rating, the manager listens to the worker, provides suggestions and offers help to drive improvement. The employee also has the opportunity to provide suggestions to the manager, making the situation more equal and friendly than the traditional model.

Measurable Outcomes

Human resource departments are taking a hard look at the purpose of the annual review and working to develop new evaluation techniques that are growth oriented and in line with future business goals. Managers are reminded that one of their primary purposes is to develop employees who increasingly add value to the company. Regardless of the frequency and method of reviews, managers must make sure that all feedback includes goal-centered improvement plans with measurable outcomes. Reviews that are custom designed to enhance future performance directly benefit the business, saving everyone time and money.

In an effort to restructure the traditional annual review process, modern businesses are building their own employee evaluation programs with an eye on long-term results to increase employee value and build better organizations. New programs focus on developing a culture of providing regular feedback to help improve employee performance. Changing annual review procedures in this way benefits both managers and their workers and encourages more teamwork and goal-driven evolution.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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