Do performance reviews still matter, or is there an alternative? Copyright: nexusplexus / 123RF Stock Photo










There’s been a trend over the last few years for organisations to ditch performances reviews. These organisations felt a formal review process doesn’t belong in today’s workplace, with the system of singling individuals out for special praise bearing the brunt of their bad feelings.

They also argued that the changing nature of people’s roles makes it impossible to plan a week ahead never mind 12-months in some industries, and felt the added pressure of preparing and going through the process could reduce workers’ health and well-being.

Managers and leaders have mostly welcomed the changes as they sit down to discuss performance with their teams more often than they did before. As a result, engagement went up and people believe their manager understands them and their needs better.

On the flip side, it’s probably fair to say not everyone in these organisations’ HR departments was entirely happy. HR departments like to have facts and figures at their fingertips to analyse and have something tangible to base decisions on (like pay-rises and bonuses). They’ve had to change the way they do things and find other metrics to measure performance.

However, the performance review probably isn’t extinct just yet. As many organisations as has dumped them still see them as vitally important as they’re the only way they can monitor individuals’ progress and track their accomplishments. What they track, and how, has evolved and performance reviews are now a tool to help staff develop and grow.

This last point is worth taking seriously. Employees today like to improve and develop at work. In fact, it might be the single-most important thing they look for at work. Continuous development and the opportunity to constantly get better at what they do keeps them engaged, productive and happy. Having a clearly-defined set of goals to work towards means people know where they stand and gets them excited about their work. Everyone wins in this scenario.

So, is the performance review still relevant in 2018? It depends on your organisation and your attitude towards them.

If you feel comfortable your organisation needs performance reviews, then stick with them. If you think it’s time they went, then get rid of them. An enormous caveat is needed here though – you need to have another system in place.

Another option if you’re not sure what the answer is, is to tweak the process and see if you can make it more efficient. Having shorter, regular performance reviews throughout the year can make things less painful. You can reduce paperwork and talk more. There’s even apps and online systems that capture data and upload it automatically that cuts time and effort down even more.

Whatever approach you take to performance management, don’t treat the process as simply a tick in the box. In all organisations, people are your most important asset. Don’t lose sight of this and show them you care, and value them and the contribution they’ve made.

How does your organisation approach performance reviews? Is there anything you’d like to do differently? Let us know.