Are Year-End Reviews Still a Thing?


…or are they as outdated as faxes and rolodexes?

In decades past, the annual performance review was the preferred tool for examining employees’ performance, discussing opportunities for improvement, setting new goals and getting feedback from your staff.

But times have changed. These facts illustrate why year-end reviews have fallen out of favor:

  • According to Gallup, a meager 14% of employees strongly agree that performance reviews inspire them to improve.
  • This article reports that 90% of employees don’t believe the annual review process provides accurate information.
  • Management research firm CEB (now Gartner) found that 95% of managers are dissatisfied with the way their companies conduct performance reviews.
  • In today’s rapidly changing workplace, a static annual review doesn’t meet the needs of younger workers who crave constant feedback.

Annual performance reviews are time-consuming. Stressful. And they don’t reliably deliver their intended outcomes. So why do them? If you’re looking for better ways to evaluate and improve performance, consider these alternatives:

Provide real-time feedback. In this earlier post, we share tips for providing immediate feedback in ways that boost employees’ morale and productivity.

Increase review frequency. Reviewing performance more often shortens both prep time and the length of each review (since you only have three or six months to cover, instead of 12). This allows you to give timelier – and more impactful – feedback.

Ask employees to conduct self-assessments. Systematically gather feedback on an employee’s perceived strengths, competencies, accomplishments, overall performance and areas for improvement. Giving employees the opportunity to reflect on their own performance increases buy-in and sets the stage for a meaningful and productive performance-based discussion.

Conduct “stay interviews.” Unlike traditional performance reviews, which are primarily retrospective, stay interviews are designed to discuss an employee’s future with your organization. Conversations focused on the future allow you to:

  • Increase retention by identifying employees at risk of leaving.
  • Create career paths that align with your company’s needs, while tapping into employees’ strengths, interests and goals.
  • Motivate employees to improve their performance by setting achievable goals that will fast-track their growth in your organization.

Want to really improve performance? Start with better hiring.

When you hire better, your employees hit their goals.  And when your employees hit their goals, everything else just falls into place.

PrideStaff can help you hire smarter. Combining the resources of a large, national staffing agency with unsurpassed local market knowledge. The result? We deliver exceptional candidates who meet or exceed your expectations. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more about our hiring approach.