Performance Management

Performance Reviews – To do or not to do

Several years ago, a new trend in HR came into popularity. You’ve likely heard about it and liked the idea, too.

The trend: Stop conducting performance reviews.

What employer wouldn’t want to hear that there is a piece of work, often awkward and sometimes dreaded, they no longer must do? In 2015 General Electric announced it was dropping their “rank and yank” approach to performance reviews. Google doesn’t do it anymore, so why would I do it?

As with any trend, there are pros and cons, early adopters, adopters when the trend has been tested for a while by others, and those who do not adopt the trend at all.

Here’s the thing… performance reviews can take as little as 10 minutes.

There’s growing evidence that conventional performance reviews are not working. One major issue is the time commitment they require: When many employees already get feedback regularly, formal reviews just take too long. A faster, but still effective method is the 10-minute “Tough Love Review”:

  • Create a spreadsheet with two columns: “Tough,” a few phrases about where the employee is falling short, and “Love,” a few phrases about what they do well.
  • During the review, explain that your goal is to identify both positive traits and areas for improvement. Tailor your message to show that the review is about helping the employee. Then ask the employee how they prefer feedback: Kind and nurturing? Pointed and direct? Use their answer to decide whether to start with “Tough” or “Love.”
  • After talking through the points on your spreadsheet, use the last few minutes to let the employee respond to what you’ve said.

It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. In fact, it shouldn’t be because no one will ever what to do them. Instead, make it a summary of the day-to-day feedback that you provide them with regularly. No surprises but documented in their file. If you stay on top of that, I’ll give you a rave performance review!