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Your Company Needs Feedback–Performance Review or No Performance Review

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

So many big-name companies have recently gotten rid of formal performance reviews–GE, Accenture, Adobe, and Medtronic, for instance. And other companies are dumping forced or “stacked” rankings of each manager’s direct reports.  All of this is good if it gets rid of fear, distraction, and negative messaging to employees and managers who have to implement this stuff.

But what can get ignored–performance review or no performance review–is what IS desperately needed by both employees and companies who want to succeed. And that is feedback.

Feedback is the essential fuel for learning—and employees today want and need way more than they are getting from their managers and peers. Younger workers and ambitious performers of all ages want to know how they are doing and what they can do to improve their performance. Feedback, at it’s core is information, and with massively more information streaming in from everywhere, it’s absence from the boss and other human beings is a huge, glaring problem.

Performance reviews don’t really work as feedback because they only occur once a year and they’re focused on paperwork, bureaucracy, and everything BUT helpful information that people understand and can act on. Whether your company has recognized this flaw and removed performance review or whether the annual ritual is still in place, every single leader in your organization should figure out how to give faster, better feedback that helps people.

If you are a manager, supervisor, or project leader at any level, reflect on your own behavior over the last six months:

1. Have you initiated feedback conversations with each team member at least once a week?

2. Do you ask for and listen to feedback from each team member every time you give feedback?

3. Do you openly support feedback and encourage overall feedback on the team’s (and your) performance in every team meeting?

4. Do you focus your feedback on things that affect your high-priority goals for the team?

5. Do people really understand your high priority goals for the team and for them personally?

6. Do you frequently give positive as well as corrective feedback?

7. Do you always provide feedback promptly after the other person’s effective or ineffective action?

8. Do you always go straight to the individual involved with feedback rather than a third party?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, you can and should improve your giving of feedback. That is your feedback and your development priority is in front of you.

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