For a lot of people, the end of the year can be a mixed bag of emotions. Spending the holiday with the family is always a joyous time but there are also so many things to consider. What presents do the kids want, when do the in-laws need picking up from the airport, who will plan the office party, and, oh yeah, it’s time for everyone to complete an annual performance review.

Even in the most placid of offices, those three words alone are usually enough to set managers and employees alike on edge. One has to deliver the reviews and the other has to prepare to take their review. But regardless of who does what, when the day finally comes, you can be sure that the entire office will be moaning and groaning their way through it.

Even the best of employees find themselves needlessly worrying about their annual reviews. Yet, should your entire workforce have to consider revolt every holiday season? For many business owners, this officewide discontent has led them to consider completely ditching their annual performance reviews. But, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, what if there was a more efficient and more effective means of providing your employees with feedback?

Let’s explore a little about why employees and managers both balk at the idea of annual performance reviews. From there we can come up with an appropriate solution and get your company back on track to accurately assessing employees’ performance.

Performance Review

Why You Need Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews weren’t developed simply to stress out employees. They have a clear purpose that, in theory, should do a lot of good for the company. That’s why you can’t just get rid of the entire process. As much as managers and employees hate conducting performance reviews, when done correctly, they are a necessary evil that roots out inefficiency and poor productivity.

The benefit of a performance review is that it allows employees to receive face-to-face feedback from their managers. Ideally, managers should be having regular meetings to help guide employees and provide support through new and upcoming projects. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. In cases where managers can’t meet with employees regularly, an end of year review guarantees that employees at least get some form of feedback. Managers can then lay out their goals and expectations in the upcoming year.

This is especially important for upper management, who likely don’t interact with every employee throughout the day. Performance reviews can be documented and accessed by human resources and administration. Then, should new management come into the office, employees’ performance records can bring the new manager up to speed. Therefore, a performance review leaves an excellent paper trail of information on everyone working within the company.

The information isn’t simply a record, though. Performance reviews can scale your employees from least to most productive. Essentially, they act as a ranking system that shows who has promise and talent. When it’s time to dish out raises or promotions, this information can speedily simplify the process.

Most importantly, though, performance reports can put the spark back into a dimming employee. Going through an employee’s work record and finding where they succeeded can highlight that they do offer strengths to the company. In the coming year, they can continue to work hard knowing that management has taken notice of their work. In other words, annual performance reports create the chance to show workers how their day to day goings on have resulted in real growth for the company. This can then open employees up to promotions or raises.

At the end of the day, even if annual performance reviews aren’t perfect, they serve a purpose. After all, this method wouldn’t have lasted this long if it were a complete waste of time. When your organization doesn’t have the time or means to provide individual one-on-one feedback for every employee throughout the year, an annual performance review will have to suffice.

Where Annual Performance Reviews Are Failing

Regardless of how essential performance reviews are, it’s undeniable that they have their shortcomings. If not, your workers wouldn’t feel so inclined to make it obvious that they hate the reviewing process. But what exactly is it that causes so much stress around annual employee evaluations?

First, they’re not exactly well-timed. Sure, it may seem like a good idea to get them all done at the end of the year so that you’re prepped to start up after the holidays but, in reality, they’re grossly off the mark. Most people couldn’t tell you what they did two weekends ago let alone what they did 16 weeks ago. Giving your employees feedback months after they’ve completed an assignment will do little to address their shortcomings at that time. You would do better to give feedback quickly and in the moment if you want employees to recall the details of their work.

Second, conducting performance reviews once a year causes a lot of stress for everyone involved. Human resources have to go through the process of conducting reviews with management, which requires a lot of preparation and time. From the employees’ perspectives, it’s also a high-pressure meeting. Employees usually don’t know what to expect because they haven’t received feedback in a year. Knowing that potential raises or promotions rest on this one meeting creates a lot of anxiety for even the best workers.

Even if you are holding regular meetings with employees, setting up annual performance reviews takes time out of everyone’s schedules. That is time that employees could be using to complete assignments. Instead, they have to shift their schedules to fit in a review. This could end up being a huge waste of time throughout multiple departments of your company.

On top of that, an annual review isn’t exactly flexible. It’s a good idea to set goals at the start of the year but, as anyone knows, nothing is likely to stay the same year-round. Plans need refreshing throughout the year, so what you laid out as the company’s plans in January likely won’t even matter come July. Your employees will feel left out of the loop, as if they are simply pawns in the corporate process.

No one wants to feel as if their efforts go unnoticed or that they have no say in their day to day activities. But that’s what annual performance reviews do. They prevent collaboration between management and the worker. These days, we are constantly told that to work in a company, we must do so as a team but, without collaboration, companies feel less like a team and more like a social order. This will likely create a corporate culture of unsatisfied and resentful workers who cannot get enthusiastic about their work.

So, with all of that in mind, how exactly can we improve the process of reviewing our employees’ progress? It sounds a lot like the problem comes down to not enough engagement between management and the employees. But, if reviews are so time-consuming, it makes even less sense to start increasing their frequency. The good news is, there is a better way of providing employees with feedback. Check it out!

Change Up How You Review Employee Performance

Like with most aspects of your work, automation can simplify the entire process of conducting performance reviews. Using performance management software, you’ll no longer be limited to a single employee review at the end of the year. Instead, feedback is automatically uploaded onto a cloud-based digital platform. Using a unique User ID and password, employees will simply log into their accounts where they’ll have access to company standards and goals, as well as continuous feedback on their work.

Employee data is automatically saved and compiled into data reports that will simplify how you assess their progress. Most importantly though, with a constant stream of data, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where employees have weaknesses. Rather than waiting until the end of the year to address these issues, you can nip them in the bud as they are happening. You’ll eliminate inefficiencies in real-time rather than waiting a full year to see minute changes.

More importantly, though, your employees will favor this method far more than an annual review. By receiving continuous feedback, employees can actually take control of their efforts throughout the year. They’ll be able to make real improvements to their weakness. You would be surprised how many workers want to get better at their jobs so they can move up and, by providing them with constant feedback, you’re giving them the means to better themselves.

You can benefit from this as well. Talent goes where it knows it can find success. A worker who is looking to put their skills to work isn’t going to stay in a company that doesn’t create pathways to move up. When you identify where workers have weaknesses, implement new training, and the workers who dedicate themselves most to their training are likely the type of people you need in your company. You’ll easily spot the rising stars and can begin building them up into management positions. In the long run, they’ll boost productivity and profits throughout the entire company.

A quality performance management system also allows for collaboration between management and the employee. Rather than simply setting goals at the beginning of the year that will likely change without any internal input, employees will have real-time access to goals and standards as they develop throughout the year. Objectives can be laid out transparently and employees will feel more motivated to see them through.

All in all, the benefits of upgrading to a performance management system are clear:

But before you dedicate yourself to investing in a new performance management system, let’s answer a few of the most common questions that people have about this software.

Frequent Questions About Performance Management Systems

Do performance management systems create the same results as an annual review?

Yes, and more! With a top performance management system, you’ll be able to track employees’ performance throughout the year and compile data reports whenever you wish. The results are, in fact, more thorough and more accurate than from a standard annual review. Your employees will appreciate the feedback and will be able to make immediate changes in their productivity.

How accessible are performance management systems?

These days, most of the top performance management systems are designed to be as accessible as possible. But accessibility can have a couple of different meanings. First, let’s talk about how easy it is to get into the system. Generally, these days, software is going through a slight shift. Whereas before, you would download a package onto your device or even have to buy external hardware, nowadays most software exists in a digital cloud-based platform.

This means that as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can access the platform through the Internet. You just need a cell phone, tablet, or notebook. Considering that most people are already doing work through their phones, it only makes sense that performance management can also be accessed while mobile. This way, workers can log in from the office, home, coffee shop, or on their daily commute.

But accessibility can also mean how easy it is to use. Can the average employee get set up and working with the platform in a short amount of time? That will really come down to what system you invest in. Find something that doesn’t require your workers to undergo further training. It should be straightforward and intuitive. The whole point of this software is to eliminate inefficiencies.

What should I look for in a performance management system?

If you are committed to upgrading your employee evaluation process, it might seem like a big decision picking just one software. There are countless options on the market, so sifting through poor quality and unsatisfactory services can take a while. Our number one tip is to find something that suits the needs of your company.

Figure out what you want for your employees and then go searching. Generally, most companies want to be able to provide continuous feedback for their employees, track progress from day to day, create performance reports, and open lines of communication between management and employees. Anything additional will depend on what you need. Ideally, you should look for a system that can be customized. This will eliminate much of the time you spend searching for the perfect system.

How will performance management software affect my company?

We believe that switching to a cloud-based platform could generate a whole host of positive changes in your office’s atmosphere. Like we said earlier, you’d be surprised by how many employees actually want feedback on their work. By continuously giving them feedback, they’ll have the power to move up through the company by their own efforts.

Employee evaluations will feel less like a high-pressure, low-result one-off meeting, and more like a continuing conversation between management and employees. With more open lines of communication, the barriers that keep employees from viewing their managers as people will begin to come down. You’ll have stronger relationships and more satisfied workers. This is essential to a healthy corporate culture.

Where can I find about more about performance management software?

Most platforms are online so it’s easy to find information about any service. But if you would like to receive more information about these systems, we recommend contacting eLeaP. Send us an email at help@eleapsoftware.com or call +1-877-624-7226 and we’ll be more than happy to answer all of your questions. We can quote you a reasonable price or get you set up today!

Conclusion

Performance reviews are an absolute necessity for any company. Without their vital information, you wouldn’t be able to track how employees or the company are progressing, nor could you determine where promotions and raises should go. That doesn’t mean that providing employees with feedback should be such a stressful process, though.

Switching to a cloud-based performance management system could alleviate most of the problems with annual performance reviews. Employees can receive feedback while it still pertains to their work, maintain open lines of communication with management, and have control over their own positions in the company. From the employer’s standpoint, performance management software will let them track employee progress, generate status reports, and implement training where it is needed.

The benefits of upgrading are really quite clear. Don’t leave your company in the past. Upgrade now and you’ll feel the difference it makes in the office.