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Employees Dub Performance Reviews Ineffective and Unhelpful


And the hits to the efficacy of performance management keep coming: While significant time and energy are spent on annual performance reviews, survey results released from Korn Ferry say they miss the mark for helping employees become better at their jobs.

75% of more than 500 professionals surveyed said they have annual performance reviews with their boss. However, nearly half (42%) said their annual performance review had no effect or was ineffective at improving their professional performance. 43% said it had no effect or was unhelpful at clarifying what to do more of or differently to improve future performance.

“Organizations realize that managing business performance is a very dynamic process, so having a once-per-year meeting that hopes to both evaluate and improve performance is a tall ask,” said Katie Lemaire, senior client partner at Korn Ferry. “It is still critical that employees receive regular feedback and companies have the opportunity to re-evaluate their processes.”

Perhaps the most compelling reason for performance reviews is to determine rewards and pay for employees. However, a recent survey conducted by WorldatWork suggests that employers are beginning to move away from that practice.

The association’s “Inventory of Total Rewards Programs & Practices” survey found that 91% of responding employers still rely on formal performance appraisals/reviews, a statistically significant drop from 94% in 2016. And 80% of respondents are using formal performance ratings in 2017, also a statistically significant drop from 85% in 2016, reflecting an increased use of ratingless reviews.

“This move away from some of the more traditional elements of performance management is consistent with the expectations we had going into the survey,” said Alison Avalos, CCP, GRP, director of research and certification for WorldatWork. “There’s been a lot of buzz about organizations moving to nontraditional programs, and while they aren’t abandoning traditional performance management systems entirely, there is evidence that they are looking at emerging practices and implementing individual components of cutting-edge programs. What we’re seeing this year is that continued shift toward potentially more effective ways of driving and assessing performance.”

The Korn Ferry survey found that annual performance reviews tend to take a large amount of time, with the largest percentage of respondents saying they spend seven or more hours on their review.

“It’s critical that managers regularly have conversations about performance throughout the year, which is far more effective in driving performance improvement than trying to have a conversation about what people could or should be doing differently at the same time that you are sharing compensation information with them,” Lemaire said.

The Korn Ferry survey was conducted in January 2018 and garnered 538 responses. WorldatWork’s “Inventory of Total Rewards Programs & Practices” survey reflected responses from 867 WorldatWork members collected in August 2017.

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