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The declining value and prevalence of Annual Performance Reviews has been well documented. It is estimated that nearly 50% of the Fortune 500 have now scrapped Annual Performance Reviews in favour of more agile, more frequent reviews of performance.

With everything we understand now about employee engagement and driving performance at work – it totally makes sense that we move away from something so slow, strict and as outdated as annual performance reviews. Great employees want to know how they can improve every day, and make changes to their behaviour in order to drive performance.

How often should you review performance?

Ok, the million dollar question. “If an ‘annual’ cadence is so 1985, what should I do then?

My answer is simple: the best thing you can do for your organisation is to make feedback an ongoing, continuous part of your daily workflow. If that sounds like a nightmare – you probably don’t have the right tools or mechanisms in place to enable continuous feedback and more importantly: you might need to re-consider your career choice to be a manager!!!

Feedback is the fuel that helps turn potential into performance. If you want to be an all-star leader of a high-performance organisation – you better get used to giving feedback constantly – both negative and positive.

Most importantly, what should you review? 

Of course, when “reviewing” performance – you must look at outcomes and results. When “managing” performance, my view (which my subscribers will already well know!) is that you should review actions and behaviours, not just outcomes. However, as I say – when formally reviewing performance over an extended period of time, you will need to look into the outcomes, results and KPIs that you have set.

My top tips for giving more feedback and building routines around more feedback

  1. Invest in a “tool” or solution to make giving feedback simple. Whether it’s something as simple as a chat tool like Slack, an intranet solution or a full-on performance platform like Sparta – get something that allows you to a) see performance in real-time and b) communicate and give feedback to your team in real-time. It should preferably be mobile, real-time and easy-to-use.
  2. Learn to LOVE giving feedback (especially more negative or constructive criticism). As I said before, feedback is the fuel that turns potential into performance. If you don’t enjoy tough conversations, or sitting and talking with your employees about their performance – you need to learn to love it. Read up on the science of feedback to understand how to get the most out of your coaching sessions. Just as you ask your staff to be well briefed on their skill set – you should be constantly learning about coaching, feedback and the sciences of psychology and motivation at work.
  3. Giving great, constructive, clear and actionable feedback isn’t something we’re born with. You need to practice, practice, practice. You won’t be a superstar coach and feedback-giver tomorrow – but if you keep practicing, you’ll get there.

Remember, #FeedbackIsFuel 😃

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James Pember
CEO Sparta, gamification & performance management technology for the world's biggest and most-loved enterprise brands.Passionate about performance. Passionate about helping companies drive change. Love the intersection of behaviour, business, psychology and technology. One-time marathon finisher (probably won't try again).