If you’ve ever spent months dreading that annual office review and walked in with your feet dragging, you’re not alone.
TriNet and Wakefield Research recently published a survey revealing that 69 percent of full-time workers between the ages of 18 and 34 find the performance review process flawed. Lest you think this is just limited to millennials, G.E., Accenture, Adobe, Netflix and a slew of other innovative companies recently decided to eliminate their traditional performance review systems across the board.
So what is it that makes them so ineffective? Quite simply, by the time you get around to a review, it’s too late to stop a major problem, or at best it’s already happened for months on end. Maggie Chan Jones, chief marketing officer at SAP, believes this process only leads to time lost that could have been spent learning.
And this isn’t just limited to the employer side. For employees, getting a large spoonful of feedback all at once can be too much for even the toughest team member to swallow. The same TriNet and Wakefield Research survey found that “62 percent of millennials have felt ‘blindsided’ by a performance review.”
With the following tips, you can find ways to eliminate the aging performance review system at your own company.
Keep Feedback Brief
You might not have the capacity to meet with each and every employee for 20 minutes apiece. I know I don’t.
I have good news on that front: employees want to ditch the longer meetings just as much as you do. Although your feedback should still be truthful, the more brief, informal and frequent you can make it, the better it will be all around.
Use Digital Task Management Systems
You (hopefully) already utilize tech in a variety of different innovative ways to improve your company’s efficiency. So why not use it for employee feedback as well?
With digital task management systems like Asana, Slack and many others, managers can leave direct comments on an employee’s project, see what progress has been made and what steps are next, and collaborate electronically in hundreds of ways – even when on the go.
Get Your Team Involved
While getting constant feedback from a manager is great, this can fall short for a few reasons. Most importantly, “You can’t be the only one holding everyone accountable because you can’t possibly observe everything that’s going on,” says Mary Shapiro, author of HBR Guide to Leading Teams.
You and I both know there are only a certain amount of hours in a day, and they can’t always be spent providing feedback. Not to mention, it’s pretty unrealistic if you have a larger company. By using tech collaboration tools, team members are able to conduct quality checks on each other’s work and improve the quality of the project through real-time collaboration.
As an added bonus, all of this feedback is easily accessible and viewable to a manager as well. You can avoid the highly dreaded 360-degree review (which has been found to be widely unproductive), and you won’t make employees squirm in their seats by asking them to provide negative feedback on co-workers.
Make Everyone Accountable
As you grow, you have to let go. By using technology to hold your team accountable, you can deliver increased feedback while giving your team more responsibility and empowerment.
For instance, at my firm, I threw the traditional management hierarchy out the window. My team loves that projects are based on who can see it through best, rather than who has been at the firm the longest. And since we note every deadline, leader, and deliverable electronically, nothing slips through the cracks.
I have some more good news for you: It’s been shown that most workers, including a staggering 95 percent of millennials agree with me. When millennials can follow their project through from idea to implementation and see its impact, it’s not surprising they’ll work harder to achieve even better results.
Make Feedback Instant
According to a 2013 survey of 6,000 human resources professionals, “a mere 2 percent of employers provide ongoing feedback to their employees.” Be a part of that 2 percent by sprinkling in spontaneous feedback when you’re on the go or have a few spare minutes. By leaving comments on your employees’ work or projects digitally, you can show appreciation, or at least show your employees they are valued by noting where they can improve.
Don’t Forget Facetime
Of course, none of this replaces old-fashioned, face-to-face communication, and that’s not something you want to jettison anyway. Even millennials value face time over FaceTime, arguably even more so than the generations before them.
Meeting with employees individually isn’t always an option either, so consider a single, small, structured meeting once a day. This way, you can hash out issues face to face, and your whole team will appreciate that you saved “real” communication for when it counts.