Annual performance reviews are starting to fall out of style. Companies like Accenture, GE, Adobe, and Netflix have abolished the annual process of evaluating employees’ performances, and hundreds more have followed in their footsteps.
Why? These companies are starting to see performance reviews as a waste of time, citing the redundancy of following the same forms for every employee, the bureaucratic process, and the lack of motivation it brings employees in the long run. And to be sure, there are problems with the conventional way of executing annual performance reviews.
But rather than abandoning them altogether, what if one major procedural change could fix these problems, and make performance reviews both easier and more effective?
Why Performance Reviews Still Matter
First, let’s examine why we’d bother saving performance reviews in the first place. There are three main reasons why performance reviews still matter:
- Opportunities for improvement. Performance reviews are an essential opportunity for employees to learn what they’re doing right and wrong, and what areas require improvement. Collectively, better reviews can optimize the productivity, morale, and work ethic of your entire workforce.
- New worker desires. Today’s employees want feedback more than ever; the millennial generation, for example, is twice as likely to be engaged at work if they feel they’re receiving relevant feedback on their efforts.
- Records. Having performance reviews completed and committed to historical records means you’ll have a running thread that charts how your employees perform—and improve—over time. That’s vital if you want your workforce to grow with your organization.
One Strategy to Improve Your Reviews
So what can you do to make your performance reviews less bureaucratic, more engaging, and more on point? The effectiveness of your reviews is going to stem from their source—that is to say, where you get your information and how you compile it is the key.
The solution, then, is to draw your information from a single, consolidated source where you can effectively review individual employee contributions and productivity over the course of an entire year (or more frequently, should circumstances demand it). That source is project management software, like Taskworld, where data on employee performances is stored indefinitely within tasks and projects.
There are several advantages to this approach:
- Mitigation of redundancy. One of the biggest problems with the “conventional” approach to performance reviews is the endless redundancy of the paperwork. Most managers are forced to sit through endless lists of questions, rating each employees skills the same way, on a scale of 1 to 5. PM software eliminates that bureaucratic tedium by allowing you a more subjective view into an employee’s productivity, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses based on how they allocate their time, and how much value they provide to the company.
- Transparency. PM software also grants you the advantage of full-scale transparency. Rather than relying on a handful of baseline metrics, PM software gives you the ability to peer into any project the employee has worked on in the past year. This is an overwhelming task if you try to cover everything in detail, but those details are there and available if you need to consult them.
- Comprehensiveness. Using PM software also gives you the chance to be as comprehensive as you want. You can evaluate employees not just on factors like attendance, work ethic, and time management, but also on how well they communicate with others, how they work on different types of projects, and how they reacted to times of crisis or additional need.
- Accountability. The project management software approach also improves on the accountability factor; rather than limiting performance reviews to a single supervisor’s experiences with an employee, reviews draw from all of that employee’s contributions, since any efforts they make will remain tied to their name.
- Clear motivations and measurements for improvement. With both objective and subjective insights to report, a PM software-based performance review provides a clearer path to improvement (and obvious measurements and indicators to track along the way). This incentivizes employees to focus on key, measurable areas, and gives them a suitable goal structure they can use to gauge their work throughout the year.
Rather than abandoning your annual performance reviews, try to incorporate the insights you derive from your project management software. You’ll get more valuable information about how your employees are working, and you’ll be able to provide a more individualized approach to giving feedback. Give it a try when you optimize this year’s performance reviews—you won’t be disappointed with the results.