By Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Chairman + Founder of Purple Cubed
In 2015, one of the largest companies in the world, Accenture, got rid of annual performance reviews for its 330,000 employees. They disbanded rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process, opting instead for a more fluid system whereby employees receive feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis.
Of course managing performance and exchanging feedback should be an ongoing part of everyday business life. And systems should be put in place to make sure this happens.
However, I would also argue that it’s more necessary than ever to set aside time for a more formal, forward-focused, big-picture career discussion at least once a year.
Business pressure and human nature will dictate that ongoing review sessions will end up being be mostly about the ‘work stuff’; practical aspects, performance management and feedback. Yet in a fast-moving, volatile and uncertain climate, where change is the norm, to engage and retain talented people, businesses must fully and transparently manage aspirations. It’s surely a business priority to help people develop and progress towards their potential and expectations.
This is why I believe it’s crazy to do away with the annual (or twice yearly) review. The solution is to back up ongoing feedback session with a robust, more formal career conversation away from the day to day. The focus will therefore evolve from backward looking, small-picture, ‘performance management’ to forward-focused, big-picture career planning. Today’s employee will both welcome and expect an honest two-way discussion about him or herself in the context of the business and the future plans and aspirations of both.
So before you ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’, make sure you have both aspects covered.
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