Intro: The State of Performance Reviews Today

Welcome to LarkApp's Running a Great Performance Review series! In this post 1 (of 6), we’ll cover why today’s performance review can be a huge value-add for your organization.

Let’s be real — the legacy annual review has gotten a bad rap. And for good reason — this traditional employee management process, introduced in the ’50s, is ineffective, wastes time, and causes universal stress. This process does not meet the needs of today’s dynamic, cross-functional, and fast-moving workplace.

Today, companies are looking for an employee performance management process that can:

  • Boost productivity with more nimble feedback cycles
  • Increase talent retention by increasing employee engagement and motivating employees via learning and development
  • Reach high performance through a culture of transparency

The great news is that this gap between outdated employee management processes and needs of today’s workforce is resulting in exciting innovations in the performance management process. Early thought leaders such as Accenture and Deloitte have replaced the legacy review with continuous feedback systems. Others have opted for more frequent, lightweight reviews — often branded “Check-Ins.”

More and more companies are recognizing that reviews, when done right, provide high long-term strategic value and will make any organization more successful. At LarkApps, we’re finding that these companies that switch to a modern performance management process are naturally settling into a combination of feedback and reviews along this Zone of High Performance.

Performance reviews that fall into this Zone of High Performance are:

  • Frequent and lightweight, which decreases recency bias and creates an ongoing dialogue around performance without significantly increasing overhead
  • Conversation-focused, as opposed to rating-focused, making them great for learning & development
  • Supplemented with continuous feedback, so everyone maintains a solid understanding of performance
  • Employee experience-oriented, with the goal of empowering the employee to drive their performance and development

Here’s how this model effectively addresses the complaints of the legacy process.

(1) “This isn’t accurate… who can remember what happens in a year?”

Holding more frequent, lightweight reviews, often branded as Check-Ins, allows employees and managers to more effectively track progress. One prominent thought leader Adobe employ this strategy — they updated their performance management systems to include Check-Ins, which occur quarterly at a minimum.

(2) “My team has actual work to do. Who has time for this?”

Re-framing the process to work for the employees means that they get the tangible benefits of improved business productivity and engagement. Today’s reviews often provide a dedicated dedicated platform where employees are prompted to speak up, which is vital considering that 50% of employees don’t say what they’re really thinking.

This is important for two reasons. One, when employees feel like their voice matters, they’re more productive and engaged. Two, employee insights are necessary for improving organizational efficiency and workplace productivity.

(3) “Our managers already have 1:1s, isn’t this redundant?”

By designating monthly or quarterly Check-Ins as a 1:1 dedicated to development and performance conversation, today’s reviews can be seamlessly folded into the managerial 1:1 structure while having a distinct purpose. This allows for managers and employees to ensure that conversations around employee growth and performance are happening, while reducing the time and mental overhead on everyone.

Additionally, a review allow for a systematic, 360 peer assessment process. In today’s cross-functional world, peers provide valuable insights that managers don’t always have. Getting peer feedback gives managers a wide range of input, allowing them to make more informed calls.

In conclusion…

As you can see, performance reviews have evolved to serve the needs of your team. So make your team more productive and engaged with a modern performance management process today!

We hope that this blog post inspires you to run a great performance review! Next up: Review Design I: Articulating the Purpose and Picking the Frequency.

If you want to learn more about the best way to put this into practice, please email me at hello@larkapps.ai.

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