Back to blog

Annual Performance Reviews are dead, long live the Performance Snapshot!

Q1 Performance Reviews Are Dead

For many, the term per­for­mance man­age­ment’ is syn­ony­mous with the dread­ed annu­al per­for­mance appraisal. Many cringe at the term. As quot­ed in a 2019 BBC arti­cle, annu­al assess­ments can be wild­ly inac­cu­rate”, even soul-crush­ing.” That’s not sur­pris­ing; annu­al per­for­mance reviews (some­times called appraisals) have a num­ber of major flaws. And yet, they still sur­vive — a 2018 sur­vey by the research firm World at Work found that 80% of com­pa­nies still used for­mal per­for­mance reviews. So how have they sur­vived? They remain in place because most organ­i­sa­tions still need the out­comes of the per­for­mance review process, although they’d pre­fer to get these out­comes by a bet­ter method. Step for­ward the Per­for­mance Snap­shot’ – a mod­ern solu­tion to an old prob­lem that has worked for hun­dreds of organ­i­sa­tions using Clear Review tech­nol­o­gy com­bined with a con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment process.

What’s real­ly wrong with per­for­mance reviews?

Tra­di­tion­al per­for­mance reviews had four major flaws: First­ly, they were bureau­crat­ic and time-con­sum­ing and there­fore deeply unpop­u­lar with man­agers and employ­ees alike. Sec­ond­ly, employ­ees dis­liked the tick-box exer­cise of receiv­ing a per­for­mance rat­ing, which crys­tallised a year’s worth of work into a sin­gle label or num­ber. Third­ly, there was an issue with recen­cy bias where­by an employee’s recent achieve­ments (or fail­ures) skewed the judge­ment of their man­ag­er. This lured savvy employ­ees to gam­i­fy’ the process which fur­ther dis­tort­ed the results and led to inef­fec­tive and unfair out­comes. Fourth, evi­dence has shown per­for­mance rat­ings have no rela­tion to orga­ni­za­tion­al per­for­mance. (This was evi­denced in a 2012 Neu​rolead​er​ship​.com report which gath­ered more than 23,000 employ­ee rat­ings from 40 com­pa­nies and found no sign that rat­ings had any effect on prof­its or loss­es, reach­ing the damn­ing con­clu­sion that per­for­mance rat­ings have no rela­tion to orga­ni­za­tion­al per­for­mance whatsoever”.)

So why have per­for­mance reviews con­tin­ued to survive?

Giv­en these sig­nif­i­cant flaws, why then have per­for­mance reviews con­tin­ued to sur­vive in 80% of com­pa­nies? Per­for­mance reviews are hard for organ­i­sa­tions to dump because they ful­fil two key pur­pos­es: first­ly, they pro­vide the forum for a ded­i­cat­ed dis­cus­sion about an individual’s per­for­mance and devel­op­ment. And sec­ond­ly, they enable employ­ee per­for­mance to be mea­sured and assessed. So, the log­ic goes, they may be flawed, but they are bet­ter than nothing!

Intro­duc­ing Per­for­mance Snap­shots – a dif­fer­ent, much bet­ter, way to achieve both these outcomes

At Clear Review, we have seen that organ­i­sa­tions can solve this conun­drum by com­bin­ing a con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment approach along­side our Per­for­mance Snap­shot func­tion­al­i­ty. Adopt­ing a con­tin­u­ous approach means that man­agers and employ­ees have check-in dis­cus­sions fre­quent­ly through­out the year, pro­vid­ing a reg­u­lar forum for a ded­i­cat­ed dis­cus­sion about an individual’s per­for­mance and devel­op­ment (thus achiev­ing the first out­come). Then at the end of the year they can use the data gath­ered from these dis­cus­sions to com­plete a tar­get­ed Per­for­mance Snap­shot. This pos­es a small num­ber of high­ly tar­get­ed ques­tions to iden­ti­fy key employ­ee met­rics around per­for­mance, top tal­ent, pro­mo­tion readi­ness or suc­ces­sion plan­ning. Our Per­for­mance Snap­shot func­tion­al­i­ty enables employ­ee per­for­mance to be mea­sured and assessed based on rich infor­ma­tion which the tech­nol­o­gy serves up at the key moment (achiev­ing the sec­ond outcome).

The outcome?

A sim­pler, more engag­ing process which dri­ves high per­for­mance and engage­ment whilst deliv­er­ing cred­i­ble, mea­sur­able met­rics based on empir­i­cal evi­dence built up over time through reg­u­lar check-ins.

What now?

We here at Clear Review are pas­sion­ate about deliv­er­ing great per­for­mance man­age­ment that works for man­agers, staff and HR to sup­port a smooth and pro­duc­tive way of mon­i­tor­ing employ­ees progress, help­ing organ­i­sa­tions and staff to achieve goals togeth­er. Over the next few months, we will be shar­ing more con­tent in the form of blogs, videos and webi­na­rs, around how to get the most of per­for­mance man­age­ment and explor­ing the theme Annu­al Per­for­mance Reviews are dead, long live the Per­for­mance Snapshot”.

To stay up to date with all of our con­tent releas­es reg­is­ter here to receive updates or see for your­self and book a free demo of Clear Review now!

Book a Demo
Performance Management Report 2021 CTA