Think back to high school. Can you recall the weeks leading up to a final exam? Inconsistent sleep patterns, excessive fatigue, decreased sense of clarity. What got you through those long, stressful days? Perhaps the thought that this will one day all be over? That you’ll never have to deal with the stress of a final exam again? Alas, the annual performance review.
For many employees, feelings of exam stress are evoked when annual reviews roll around. There’s a lot riding on this short meeting – ask questions, voice concerns, get a raise, receive constructive feedback. It’s not surprising then that employees tend to freak out. Luckily, there’s a solution to stressful annual reviews.
Many companies are beginning to see the benefits of frequent feedback over annual meetings. Here’s why:
Encourages Employee Input
Millennials need constant praise – you’ve heard it before – but this is only half of it. Sure, the twenty-something crowd in your workplace likely went home with trophies, gold stars, and ribbons, but it’s not all about praise, they welcome any kind of feedback – even criticism. The last thing they want is to be in the dark about their work performance, and they might need more than a check-box evaluation for a clear indication. Ditching the self-evaluation sheets in favor of frequent meetings will create an environment where both the employee and employer can share their thoughts on what’s working and what isn’t. This type of collaboration can lead to huge company improvements.
Creates A More Relaxed Environment
Anything that happens only once a year can be stressful. Think about it. We put pressure on ourselves to have the perfect birthday, buy the best Christmas gift, and find the greatest Halloween costume. Increasing the number of one-on-one meetings will create a more relaxed environment for both the manager and employee. It will be less about you telling employees about where they excel and where they need improvement overall, and more about pinpointing exactly what needs to change and why. Not only is it more effective, it also turns a stressful once-a-year event into informal, casual meetings.
One thing is for sure: 12 months is an incredibly long time to inform an employee about whether or not they are doing a good job. Unless you keep individual tabs on each employee, there is no way you can retain a year’s worth of information. A lot happens in a year, and thus commentary tends to become more broad. Frequent, casual meetings will allow you to give more direct feedback. This will help employees tackle their short comings in real time.
While you’ll never be able to remember every detail about an employee’s performance, increasing the number of meetings will lead to more effective conversations. Keeping your employees informed about their performance helps everyone.