All too often, companies treat performance reviews like events. They happen once a year, and in the meantime, many dread what this reviews might hold once that time of year rolls around again. Performance reviews seem to be a once yearly affair for many organizations, but companies would do well to turn them into a continuous, ongoing process instead.
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Eighty-five percent of millennials – who currently make up one-third of the entire workforce – would feel more confident in their work if their managers had more frequent performance conversations with them. In other words: A significant number of your employees want performance management to occur regularly throughout the year.
So how exactly do you transform performance reviews from annual events to ongoing processes?
Lay the Groundwork
It all starts with the senior leadership and trickles down from there. If executive leaders don't stay in constant contact with managers, then it should be no surprise that managers aren't staying in constant contact with their teammates. Add conversations about performance with managers and leaders into your daily or weekly routine.
Fifty percent of employees don't feel they know what is expected of them at work, and this could very well be true for your team. Take time out of your day to check in with employees and get the scoop on their latest projects.
Taking time out of your day to talk performance with your team will start bringing performance management into everyday conversation. This keeps performance top of mind for when reviews do come around, which means less prep time and more productivity.
Don't Make It a Chore
After laying the groundwork by adding performance management into your daily or weekly conversations, it's time to make it a team effort. Task managers with doing the same with their subordinates.
It's important to make performance management into less of a chore and more of an opportunity to advance the team together. Try offering incentives for improved department and team performance to encourage managers to keep the conversations going.
Individuals are twice as likely to be actively disengaged if they feel ignored by their managers, so opening the lines of communication should create more engaged employees. Incentives for improved performance will also boost productivity. Build goals within everyone's schedule and align the goals to your company values.
Make People Accountable
Having conversations about performance on a day-to-day basis fosters a sense of accountability throughout the whole organization. This can be furthered even more by encouraging team members and managers to write down their goals for the week or the day so they have deliverables to discuss when these performance conversations come about.
If managers and senior leaders are communicating with each other and their employees about projects, that will push individuals to meet deadlines and deliver quality results. This kind of work ethic and accountability will become tangible within the company culture.
When your employees understand their roles in the business's overall strategy, 91 percent of them will work toward the organization's success. On the other hand, when employees don't understand their roles, only 23 percent will aim for overall business success. Having conversations about performance every day rather than once a year will give employees a sense of where they stand within the organization and how their work contributes to the success of the team and company as a whole.
Using day-to-day conversations to turn performance reviews into a process rather than an event helps make reviews more meaningful for both employees and leaders. Reviews become the sum of these mini-meetings, and neither party is surprised by how the review turns out because performance matters have been steadily discussed throughout the year.
A version of this article originally appeared on the iRevü blog.
Michael Heller is the CEO and founder of iRevü.