Engaged CEO’s Kill Annual Performance Reviews

When people used to seek “careers”, well-intentioned companies set up annual review processes and some

When people used to seek “careers”, well-intentioned companies set up annual review processes and some even tied it to pay. Today, employees are expecting instant feedback. Review is continuous. And even more powerful than feedback from a boss, is self-evaluation and feedback from peers.

The benefit of continuous feedback, positive and constructive, stem beyond “employees want it”, to a deeper intent of driving a great company culture of trust and honesty, increased retention and a str`ide to more productivity.

Two companies that do this well are Ten Thousand Coffees and Olive & Cocoa. While you may not have heard of them, each company has important ideas about feedback from which we can learn.

At Olive & Cocoa, employees are provided with the company goals for the upcoming year and each are asked to identify how they will individually contribute to those goals. They present their plan to a group of peers for clarification and feedback. Then, quarterly throughout the year, the peers meet and each reports on what they accomplished, and grade themselves on how they have done. Again, peers provide feedback. More often than not, employees grade themselves much more critically than their supervisor would.

At Ten Thousand Coffees, CEO Dave Wilkin has set up a different method of self-evaluation and feedback on an even more frequent basis. His team meets every two weeks for a Demo. At the Demo, every employee reports to the others what they have accomplished in the last two weeks. No reviews necessary, they are self-directed and the team provides feedback. You can imagine it’s very clear who is “making it” and who is not.

One technique we advise leaders on is to ask employees how they want feedback to occur and what kind of feedback they seek. For one, it may be by text, another in person informal meetings and a third in writing. Employees will tell you the content of the feedback that is most useful to them. And in asking, you will also understand how they learn. Are they visual learners or kinesthetic?

So in place of the dreaded annual reviews (name one person who enjoys that process!) consider these alternative techniques. Here are our takeaways:

1)      The best evaluations are self-directed

2)      Peer feedback is more impactful than the “boss’s” feedback

3)      The best feedback is instant feedback and a close second is feedback occurring at least monthly.

What is your experience? Join the conversation at www.Profitableengagements.com