Reviewing Performance Reviews

1 Oct

These days, I am used to getting feedback instantly. Whether it be a “like” on Facebook or response to a text or email, I expect an instantaneous reply. Recently, I’ve noticed that I even expect my professors to work at a faster speed to grade my work. I check BlackBoard as frequently as social media websites, waiting for my professors to post my grades.

Just as professors are feeling the pressure to grade faster, managers are feeling pressure to give more frequent feedback to employees. The annual performance review, which has been facing scrutiny for some time, is under even more pressure for change.

The Job Force is Changing

As members of my tech-savvy generation are entering the work force, they are expecting to know how they are doing every step of the way. To keep up, companies are increasing the frequency of performance reviews and decreasing the formality

These feedback sessions are happening daily in some cases and have changed drastically from the annual and semi-annual performance evaluations of the past. Facebook Inc., for example, promotes unscheduled 45-second conversations after meetings, where employees can ask managers “How did that go?” or “What could be done better?”

The Old Way Isn’t Working

Still, many companies continue with the traditional approach, despite that it may not even work. A 2011 survey by the Corporate Executive Board Co. found that 2/3 of the companies that conduct such performance reviews found no progress or negative progress after giving feedback.

Should the companies continue the traditional approach or embrace the change?

The Time for Change is Now

Just like companies have shifted from sending letters to faxes to emails to instant messaging, managers should adapt and give instant feedback

Managers will no longer be flooded with information once or twice a year, having to stop work to sort through it. Mistakes will be caught more quickly. The tension in an employee-manager relationship will be eased. All of these steps will increase efficiency because the people in the office will work better together and large blocks of time will not be wasted sorting through the reviews.

Although frequent meetings are time intensive for managers, managers are supposed to improve communications with employees to increase efficiency.

Just as students learn better when tested more often, employees work better when given more feedback. Similarly, people are more likely to reach many small goals than they are to reach one large one. By setting a new goal at every bi-weekly meeting, rather than one large goal once a year, workers are more likely to reach these goals. This approach will increase productivity as well as morale.

Social networking sites have been created to make the instantaneous feedback process easier. Facebook Inc., for example, uses a website called Rypple. Workers can give real time feedback, “like” activities, and earn badges for jobs well done. Sites like Rypple enable managers to give the feedback without spending the extra time to meet with employees and fill out paperwork.

It Will Get Easier

Unfortunately, implementing these changes won’t be easy for managers. Already overworked, managers may not have time to check in with their employees daily. However, in the long term, these changes will make the manager’s job easier. They will have an online record of an employee’s work.

My advice to all of the managers working with my generation is to be patient because patience is a virtue many of us don’t possess. We may expect more hand-holding than you are used to on the way, but the reason we have so many questions is because we want to do our work right and eventually lessen your burden.

by Maddie Heller


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