In the past few weeks I have written a series of posts about the annual review process from self review to manager input and ultimately the discussion. I keep coming back to the same question, do we actually need this long and formal annual process? Many corporate leaders will say yes, that this is the way they insure team members are receiving feedback. This is also a way to tied back to annual increases. I am not entirely convinced it is the best way. While I am not an expert by any means in all of this, I have been involved for quite a few years and have had a few interesting conversations on the topic.
In my opinion feedback should be instantaneous, negative or positive. We live in a time where everything in our lives is instant so why should our feedback conversations be any different. Many in the workplace are not great at simple documentation, jotting down reference notes (on paper or electronically) to reference. For this as I noted in a prior post when it comes to the annual review process the likelihood that you are being reviewed on anything more than the last 3 months is pretty slim. Depending on your work environment, break it down into smaller windows of time- quarterly, weekly, or a daily check in. Some companies are even venturing into doing away with the review process all together and fostering an environment of instant communication, a little less formal. I don’t see anything wrong with this. In fact, I think it would provide that quick gratification we are seeking constantly.
I did note earlier a two points- depending on your environment and how others prefer to be communicated with. These are key and I believe are the driving force for companies piloting a non-review space. With flexible work spaces there may not always be an opportune time to discuss something that took place if it is not team related and in this situation you may want to set aside formal time. Project work also presents a unique situation as you are consistently providing project updates and the timeline may be such that you cannot carve out “feedback” time. Once the project has concluded or there is a handover, this would be a good time to discuss what was great and what was not so great. Some situations are even remote so you may spend your weekly meetings catching up and dedicate feedback times so your limited time together is productive.
All in all, the message here is that we don’t necessarily need the formality of an annual review process. With constant communication and tracking, you can easily tie this back to bonuses and annual increases. Now, my human resources friends are probably rolling their eyes. Agree, this takes commitment on the part of everyone, but this could make your lives so much easier when it comes to tracking and potential changes in employment. I welcome thoughts on either side of this and “out of the box” ways to improve this process. Drop me a line below and tell me what you think.