Venture Acceleration Blog Graphic

Why Year-End Reviews Are A Waste Of Time

Posted by Karla Bonne and Renee Waage

Find me on: 

Year-end performance reviews are a dreaded time of year for managers and employee alike.  It can be overly time consuming and certainly a waste of time when it serves as a once occurring yearly event, instead of a continuous year-long process.  In our experiences, the anomaly has been the Millennial workforce, which tends to have a strong desire for structure, clear expectations, and feedback.  They are often interested in fast-tracking their career progression and utilize the review process to gain insights as to how they can grow to the next level.

It is also debated whether year-end performance reviews are effective. Are they needed? Should they be abandoned? 

When implemented correctly, the review process will not only save you time, but will also create employees who are more engaged, productive, and continuously improve. Our experience has shown conclusively that a performance management process, including goal setting, consistent one-on-one discussions throughout the year, and closure of the year improves organizational performance and is a critical foundation for high-performing organizations.  When documented properly, the year-end review will also serve as a meaningful performance record needed for staffing decisions.  According to Wharton Magazine, neglecting or writing off the review process 1" can be incredibly destructive, create perceptions of bias and politics, and lead to [an atmosphere] of cynicism in the workplace.  That corrodes the idea that there is any notion of performance that matters and is rewarded." 

An impactful review process will include consistent one-on-one dialogues throughout the year.  Imagine ongoing dialogues between the employee and manager where they work together to develop specific goals and action steps.  Can you envision how positively this would impact the performance and development of your team?  These dialogues consist of specific goals that are agreed to by the manager and employee.  Goals (we encourage the SMART goal framework) should include clear expectations as to how the goals will be achieved, necessary resources needed to achieve these goals, definition of success, and timelines for completion.

Continuous one-on-one conversations are critical throughout the year to ensure that goals are carried out as planned.  The one-on-one conversation is an opportunity for the manager to provide positive and constructive feedback, an opportunity for the employee to discuss progress, possible challenges, and any additional resources needed for optimal results.  When these conversations are productive, year-end discussions are not a surprise; rather they are an extension of the year-long conversation and bring closure to the goals.

Utilize a system that works for your organization and let the system work for you.  There are various options for performance management software solutions that greatly improve the experience and can be integrated with other organizational systems to provide an overall performance dashboard to gain even greater efficiencies.  Like anything else in life, it's more effective to do a little bit every day than wait until crunch time.

By Karla Bonn√© and Renee Waage

1 Should Performance Reviews Be Fired? Summer 2011.

Print Email

v for venture w