Chances are you could say the phrase ‘performance review’ to just about any professional and they would get a little jolt of nervous butterflies. Traditionally, these formal evaluations conjure thoughts of annual meetings where you are asked to prove your worth to the leaders in your company.

We’re here to say: Performance reviews run in this fashion are unproductive.

Of course, it’s important to assess the work of your team members but this shouldn’t be a once-a-year affair, nor should it induce feelings of stress or panic. And we’re not the only ones who feel this way. A study by Deloitte found that 58 per cent of leaders believe that their current performance management approach has no real impact in terms of performance or engagement.

So, how can leaders review the performance of their team members more effectively? We have a few suggestions.

1. Commit to frequent conversations about performance

Performance reviews should be a regular occurrence. You can’t assess an employee’s work once a year and then expect them to improve their behaviours based off this limited guidance for the other 364 days of the year. Committing to this level of frequency is the primary driver of more effective performance assessments. Remember, a review of performance doesn’t need to be a formal sit down, it really comes down to feedback and can be provided by leaders any time, any where.

You can’t assess an employee’s work once a year and then expect them to improve.

2. Build strength in team relationships

If your team isn’t already providing one another with continuous feedback you need to open up a forum for this to begin. Building strength in the relationships on the team and creating a safe environment to give feedback is pivotal.

3. Lead by example

If you want to build a culture of genuine conversations and regular feedback you need to model the behaviours you want to see. How open are you as a leader to feedback from your team? How much time do you dedicate to giving and receiving feedback? It sends a strong message if the leader is either too busy for, or not open to, feedback.

You can’t expect much more than short term improvement if you only review employee performance once a year

The bottom line: Consistency and honesty

Optimising your performance reviews is all about making them a regular occurrence. The secret to this is building a business that thrives on honest feedback based off strong internal relationships. You simply can’t have a culture of continuous improvement by conducting performance reviews once a year.

To learn more about how to build a team that can have the genuine conversations that lead to high performance, give us a call on 03 9654 3744 today.


Ray McLean

Ray McLean

Ray founded Leading Teams in 1992 after working as a leadership officer with the Air Force. He has published two books, ‘Any Given Team’ and ‘Team Work’. Ray is based in Geelong.
Learn more about Ray.