From Performance Reviews to Continuous Feedback

The latest Forbes leadership post touched on a topic that’s close to our heart at Weekdone. It started like this:

“Performance reviews don’t work. They are disliked by managers and employees alike. They are usually poorly written and disappear as soon as they are completed. Everyone knows this but most are not going to admit it. So why do organizations still use them?”

Photo by Orin Zebest

Everyone agrees there must be a better way for employees to give feedback to their managers and vice versa. As a manager, you must listen to what your employees are thinking as much as you can. In the surveys we and others have done, lack of feedback from their manager is one of the key problems for employees.

Business today is unfortunately running at such speed, that annual or quarterly feedback sessions do not work anymore. They are too slow. You must have a weekly pulse on your team, your co-workers and what’s happening in your company. Like Forbes said:

“I’ll always remember the humorous response I got from one CEO after asking him about reviews. “Buddy, we do 24 a year,” he said. “Yep, every time an employee gets a paycheck they know they are doing a good job.””

We do not think that was too far from an ideal situation. Instead of one huge performance appraisal session per year or quarter, why not switch to a lightweight weekly feedback and back and forth communication process?

Why not ask three simple questions from your team members once per week:

  1. What have you accomplished and proud of?
  2. What are your key goals for next week?
  3. Is anything troubling you? Can you suggest any improvements on how our team works?

The answers do not have to be long. There do not have to be too many of them. Less is more.

When you get your weekly answers, do not let them sink to a black hole. Always follow up with feedback or let the person know you’ve read them.

In many companies, the weekly feedback is made public to all, so it becomes a great internal communication process.

You can use e-mail, shared Google Docs file or a special tool like Weekdone.

Try it for just 4 weeks and see what kind of magic it can do in your team. We’ve seen in practice, how much it can help team culture and collaboration. Let us know, how it goes.

Read: “Forbes: How To Eliminate Performance Reviews In Your Organization” in full for other good thoughts.