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5 Things Your Employee Reviews Are Missing


Formal employee reviews are becoming less common. While 85% of organizations held formal performance reviews in 2017, only 80% conduct them today. Over the same period, the percentage of companies with informal performance check-ins has increased by 8%.

Employees themselves often complain that formal performance reviews aren’t helpful. In fact, 65% of employees believe reviews aren’t relevant to their jobs.

To make reviews more relevant and useful for employees, organizations should consider these five factors that may be missing from current review processes:

1. A mentorship mentality

No one wants to be criticized for half an hour, especially when the criticism is directly tied to salary. To ease employee anxiety levels, managers should take a more supportive stance and approach their employee reviews as a mentor. Rather than framing faults as negatives, supervisors should present them as opportunities for improvement.

A recent study confirmed that employees crave additional guidance from their employers, and 76% said mentors are important to their career success. This relationship positions managers and employees as team members rather than opponents in the review process.

2. Feedback from other employees

Employees interact with many people throughout the course of a day, and managers don’t have full visibility into all of these cross-functional collaborations. Feedback from just one manager, then, provides only a partial look at an employee’s success.

To capture the full picture of each worker’s performance, employee reviews should include feedback from multiple stakeholders based on surveying coworkers who can illuminate new areas of performance.

3. Transparency

When employees are kept in the dark, motivation drops and productivity decreases. The organization as a whole can ultimately suffer both on the macro and micro-level – just from a single performance review.

When employees feel blindsided by feedback during a review, their first instinct may be to get defensive. When that happens, it’s difficult to have a productive conversation. That’s why it’s important to provide employees with time to review their feedback prior to the meeting so they can prepare a response.

4. Active listening

Traditional performance reviews tend to be one-sided conversations. Usually, it’s the manager talking and the employee nodding along. This imbalance is one of the reasons employees aren’t satisfied with formal reviews.

An advantage of informal check-ins is their two-way nature. At a check-in, employees may feel more comfortable voicing their concerns and asking for advice. When these meetings aren’t directly connected to salary, there’s less pressure on employees to make light of their difficulties.

5. Actionable insights

Leaving a meeting without clear action items can leave both parties feeling unsatisfied. Without a mechanism to measure the employee’s response to feedback given at the review, judging progress becomes nearly impossible.

Before wrapping up the meeting, employees and managers should agree on a few next steps they can take before the next review. These goals should have measurable outcomes, and they should be beneficial to everyone.

Employee Reviews: Key Takeaways

Make sure your performance reviews follow these best practices for effectiveness and productivity:

  • Reviewers don’t act like critics, but rather as mentors.
  • Everyone familiar with the employee’s work has a chance to provide feedback.
  • Employees have time to review feedback prior to the meeting.
  • The review gives employees space to discuss their viewpoints.
  • Both parties leave with defined next steps.

Building productivity and efficiency into your employee review process is easier when you can automate time-consuming administrative tasks. To learn more, sign up for a free demo of JazzHR today.


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