It’s Performance Review Time!

By Guest Blogger
In February 9, 2016

By: Matt Havens

Hi everyone! Matt Havens here stepping in for Jeff this month. Jeff and I had the opportunity to catch up in Austin, TX this past weekend (stay weird, Austin, which doesn’t seem to be a problem of yours by the way) and along the way he and I got to talking about something which we thought might be pertinent for the newsletter. Hopefully it is, but if not, I’m just going to blame it on being delirious from jumping in Barton Springs in 40 degree weather.

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We’re already almost a month into the new year and I’m sure if you’re like me, you’re well on your way to accomplishing all of those resolutions you set forth at the end of last year and you’re attacking this year with the fervor and determination of a wild mongoose. Or maybe….just maybe….you’re like 90% of Americans who are spending the first couple of months of 2016 talking repeatedly about 2015. Yep, that’s right. It’s the dreaded, broken world of performance review time!

Every year, we embark on this journey of rating, reviewing, quantifying, and administering performance reviews for our people. And every year, we look back at the process and wonder….how did we ever get here? We spend countless hours building “consensus” amongst leadership teams to ensure the process is fair. But then we ask ourselves, “Is your company’s performance review system truly indicative of your work? Is it truly fair?”

Well, as various news publications began reporting last year, at least a handful of companies are saying no. One such article was the Harvard Business Review highlighting Deloitte. What Deloitte found at their company is probably not a shock:

  • 58% of executives questioned believed their performance management process didn’t improve performance or employee engagement
  • Their leadership teams were spending over 2,000 hours engaging in the performance review process.

But Deloitte is not alone. Companies like Adobe, Accenture, and GE are doing away with the traditional performance review in favor of a new breed of assessment that is changing the way companies look at their people. So how are they doing it?

  • With magic (OK, no that’s not it. But that would be awesome.)
  • More frequent “touchpoints” or “check-ins” with leaders and their team, specifically geared toward the immediate conclusion of a project or assignment.
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  • I wasn’t kidding….that’s literally “it”

Wait a minute. This can’t be true. There has to be more to these new performance review systems than simply more frequent one-on-ones with their boss. And in full transparency, yes there are some additional factors in these new review processes – different performance questions for leaders, for example. But for the most part, all they’re really doing is…get this…talking more often to each other.

Here’s my point. I have spent a lot of my professional career engaged in conversations about the generational differences in our workplaces today. And without question, the most common feedback – or problem – I hear about the younger generation is their desire and need for feedback. I literally had one manager tell me, “These young kids are always asking for feedback. I don’t have time for it. It’s like they don’t have any responsibility to figure it out on their own.” Now I know this was one conversation in particular (and yes, he did use the word “kids”), but there’s an undertone that is generally commented on as it relates to these younger generations:

  • They want more feedback
  • They want more visibility with their leader and other leaders
  • They want both more frequently

Which leads to what Deloitte and others are doing. Have they invented a new system of performance review? Absolutely not. What they’ve done is recognize that this need for regular feedback is maybe not just a requirement of Millennials. They seem to think that maybe if we create an environment where people are held accountable to their performance more frequently than once per year, if there’s more consistent dialogue about strengths and opportunities throughout the year, and if we get out of the cubicle or office more to actually speak with our teams and help coach them to succeed – well just maybe we’ll all enjoy the process a little better each year.

Will Deloitte and others be successful? I think so. If nothing else, they are willing to look at today’s business challenges in creative ways instead of accepting things as they’ve always been. Now THAT’S a resolution I might be able to stick with!

Credit: It’s Performance Review Time!

This article originally published at<>. Matt Havens is a speaker and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment.

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