The end of the performance review?


Yes, it’s that time of year again — when the groans of managers can be heard over the mere mention of the words, annual performance reviews. Many managers see performance appraisals as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by HR.

My research of 1,200 HR managers across a range of industries reveals the following shortcomings of standard performance review:

  • They are a costly exercise
  • Performance reviews can be destructive
  • They are often a monologue rather than a dialogue
  • The formality of the appraisal stifles discussion
  • The infrequency of reviews
  • Appraisals are an exercise in form filing
  • Performance review are rarely followed up
  • Most people find the appraisal stressful

Please don’t get me wrong – I am not against performance feedback. In fact I believe it is one of the most important things a manager ought to be doing.

Here is an approach called The 5 ConversationsFramework that I think you will find very helpful. It is easy to implement, constructive and not bureaucratic.

The 5 Conversations’ Framework

 

The 5 Conversations’ Framework is a fresh approach to managing performance; a substitute – if you like – for the traditional performance appraisal. It is not perfect – no performance management system is – but it does address many of the weaknesses of the standard approach to appraising performance.

In a nutshell, the new approach I propose is based on five conversations between the manager and each of his or her staff over a six month period. Each of these five conversations need only last 10 minutes or so. Over the course of a year, using this system, the line manager is expected to have 10 conversations with each of his or her colleagues. The conversations are based on themes or topics. These conversations are designed to be less formal, more relaxed, more frequent and more focused than the conventional once or twice a year performance review.

Ironically, there ought to be nothing new or novel about my approach. This frequent, less formal and more focused dialogue should be something in which managers engage anyway with their colleagues. Good managers build a professional rapport and understanding between themselves and their team members by having regular conversations with each of their team members about a range of matters. The 5 Conversations’ Framework centres around key issues relating to performance. Although it ought to happen, I am sure you would agree with me that regular constructive conversations about performance rarely take place in most workplaces.

This is not to suggest that managers don’t pull up their staff when things are not done properly. While managers also have regular conversations about work-related matters, they rarely engage in a two-way dialogue about important aspects of performance. These factors are usually left until performance appraisal time. But in these forums they are usually done formally, stressfully, and less frequently; they are more generalised evaluations, and less a discussion and more a monologue. They are therefore unsurprisingly, less effective.

Tim Baker is the managing director of WINNERS AT WORK

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Tima Kofana
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Tima Kofana

Hi Dr Tim,
This is the way to go. Current Performance appraisals are indeed timeconsuming and gives all kinds of negative signals to employees. We are at a stage of reviewing our current appraisal system and your framework is I can say way better as it is participative and less stressful. We will definitely give it a go.

Thanks

Allen
Guest
Allen

Well, based on my 20 years of experience, I completely agree with you. When we, in our company, experienced the ineffectiveness of our employee performance appraisal process, we consulted a company ( http://www.eappraisal.in/ ) that offers employee perform appraisal system and put forth all our concerns and the shortcoming we were experiencing and they came up with the similar structure that you advised and it significantly improved the effectiveness of employee performance management.

Tim Baker
Guest
Tim Baker

Thanks Tima. Contact me if you’d like more information on implementing the Five Conversations Framework.

More on HRM

The end of the performance review?


Yes, it’s that time of year again — when the groans of managers can be heard over the mere mention of the words, annual performance reviews. Many managers see performance appraisals as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by HR.

My research of 1,200 HR managers across a range of industries reveals the following shortcomings of standard performance review:

  • They are a costly exercise
  • Performance reviews can be destructive
  • They are often a monologue rather than a dialogue
  • The formality of the appraisal stifles discussion
  • The infrequency of reviews
  • Appraisals are an exercise in form filing
  • Performance review are rarely followed up
  • Most people find the appraisal stressful

Please don’t get me wrong – I am not against performance feedback. In fact I believe it is one of the most important things a manager ought to be doing.

Here is an approach called The 5 ConversationsFramework that I think you will find very helpful. It is easy to implement, constructive and not bureaucratic.

The 5 Conversations’ Framework

 

The 5 Conversations’ Framework is a fresh approach to managing performance; a substitute – if you like – for the traditional performance appraisal. It is not perfect – no performance management system is – but it does address many of the weaknesses of the standard approach to appraising performance.

In a nutshell, the new approach I propose is based on five conversations between the manager and each of his or her staff over a six month period. Each of these five conversations need only last 10 minutes or so. Over the course of a year, using this system, the line manager is expected to have 10 conversations with each of his or her colleagues. The conversations are based on themes or topics. These conversations are designed to be less formal, more relaxed, more frequent and more focused than the conventional once or twice a year performance review.

Ironically, there ought to be nothing new or novel about my approach. This frequent, less formal and more focused dialogue should be something in which managers engage anyway with their colleagues. Good managers build a professional rapport and understanding between themselves and their team members by having regular conversations with each of their team members about a range of matters. The 5 Conversations’ Framework centres around key issues relating to performance. Although it ought to happen, I am sure you would agree with me that regular constructive conversations about performance rarely take place in most workplaces.

This is not to suggest that managers don’t pull up their staff when things are not done properly. While managers also have regular conversations about work-related matters, they rarely engage in a two-way dialogue about important aspects of performance. These factors are usually left until performance appraisal time. But in these forums they are usually done formally, stressfully, and less frequently; they are more generalised evaluations, and less a discussion and more a monologue. They are therefore unsurprisingly, less effective.

Tim Baker is the managing director of WINNERS AT WORK

10
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Tima Kofana
Guest
Tima Kofana

Hi Dr Tim,
This is the way to go. Current Performance appraisals are indeed timeconsuming and gives all kinds of negative signals to employees. We are at a stage of reviewing our current appraisal system and your framework is I can say way better as it is participative and less stressful. We will definitely give it a go.

Thanks

Allen
Guest
Allen

Well, based on my 20 years of experience, I completely agree with you. When we, in our company, experienced the ineffectiveness of our employee performance appraisal process, we consulted a company ( http://www.eappraisal.in/ ) that offers employee perform appraisal system and put forth all our concerns and the shortcoming we were experiencing and they came up with the similar structure that you advised and it significantly improved the effectiveness of employee performance management.

Tim Baker
Guest
Tim Baker

Thanks Tima. Contact me if you’d like more information on implementing the Five Conversations Framework.

More on HRM