Alternatives to the Annual Performance Review: Which One is Right for Your Company?

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Although it’s important to reflect on an employee’s job performance, managers are realizing that the traditional format of annual reviews can be inefficient. Here are some alternative methods you can use, in place of the annual performance review, to get better results with your employees.

Annual Performance Reviews

  • Only 26% of employees and managers believe that the traditional annual review performance review works.
  • Only 28% of employees believe their employees are effective at performance reviews.
  • 45% of HR representatives don’t believe traditional reviews are accurate representations of an employee’s work.
  • 30% of performance reviews lead to decreased performance.

Downsides of Annual Performance Reviews

  • Bad Timing
  • Drains Morale
  • Limited Perspective
  • Time Consuming
  • Erodes Motivation

Annual performance reviews are the norm for many businesses, so it is not recommended that you cut them out of your process entirely. Instead, we recommend that you supplement your annual review process with a process for consistent feedback.

Alternatives to the Annual Performance Review

Consitent Coaching

  • What it involves: Weekly or bi-monthly sessions between an employee and a manager, lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes at most.
  • Advantages: Allows for a continued conversation. Issues can be addressed in a timely fashion. Companies with regular feedback sessions have 14.9% lower employee turnover.
  • Who it works for: Especially effective for industries that lack a formal office environment. Ideal with contract or freelance employees who rely on a close relationship with a manager.
  • How to implement: Coaching can start with a formal sit-down meeting once a week; or it can be more casual, like a regularly scheduled phone call or video chat.

The Big Five

  • What it involves: An employee meets with a manager once a month (or every week) and lists five things they’ve accomplished, and five things they hope to work on.
  • Advantages: Extremely goal-oriented. Focuses heavily on self-critiques, and recognizes accomplishments. Nearly 80% of employees believe recognition motivates their work.
  • Who it works for: Industries that deal with long-term projects or tasks. Keeps employees and managers looking to the future. Allows managers to focus on things employees should work on, without relying heavily on criticism.
  • How to implement: Offer "Big Five" forms to employees a week or two before the first session. Then, allow for a formal or informal conversation on a regular basis.

360 Feedback

  • What it involves: Instead of managers offering one-way feedback to employees, employees also offer feedback about one another, and about their managers. Individuals outside the company, like clients, may offer feedback, too.
  • Advantages: Allows for multiple perspectives from all parties. Managers who receive feedback from employees and clients exhibit 8.9% increased profitability. Clients and other employees may catch issues that managers miss.
  • Who it works for: Companies with large teams and bases of clientele. Companies that find it beneficial to receive a well-rounded perspective on performance.
  • How to implement: Ask employees to fill out regular perofrmance reviews, about them selves, their coworkers, and their managers. Use email or social media to gather input from clients.

Quarterly Peer Reviews

  • What it involves: Peer reviews are regular reviews submitted from employees, about their fellow employees.
  • Advantages: Allows for candid viewpoints on a daily activities of employees. Reviews can offer practical insight that managers won’t get their own.
  • Who it works for: Companies with a high focus on teamwork. Companies with a focus on keeping teams cooperating and running smoothly.
  • How to implement: Each quarter, have employees fill out physical or digital peer reviews. Meet with each employee on a regular basis to discss accomplishments, and areas for improvement. Peer feedback should always be anonymous.

Try Something New

Performance reviews are extrememly beneficial to an employee’s productivity, growth, and job satisfaction — but, your traditional annual reviews may be holding your team back. Test different approaches to see which type of review system works best for your company.

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