No More Annual Performance Reviews

Wow! wouldn't that be a relief.


I haven't met either a leader or staff member in my over 25 years of helping companies grow who relish the experience.

Leaders have to know how people are doing. It is our nature to measure success.  But it seems that Annual Performance Review is so ingrained into the culture of companies and organizations, that to get rid of them would be impossible.

So maybe there is a better solution. 

Stats found in the Psychology Bulletin show that 30% of Performance Reviews ended up with decreased employee performance.  While 45% of HR perfessionals even don't think Annual Performance Reviews are accurate, and according to a recent US poll done for the firm Achievers, 98% of staff found Annual Performance Reviews to be unnecessary.

Why is the Annual Performance Review so disliked?

"Leaders have to know how people are doing"

Yet Annual Performance Reviews continue to be adminstered by 93% of companies as discovered by Professor Edward Lawlor of University of Southern California.

So maybe going cold turkey will be too difficult, is there an alternative?  Is there a way of measuring performance without enforcing a hated and archaic tool?

A future with no Annual Performance Reviews - yet still get the job done

  1. Drop the word "Review" this implies a past.  Let's instead use the word development or growth process. Something that has meaning but is promising, a movement forward
  2. Get rid of the word "Annual" because it should never be annual. Once a year is too late to let someone know how they are doing.  Wouldn't it be better to allow staff to look into the future and show them how they can progress?  Provide them with a road map that shows them where the next destination can be, then help them get there?
  3. Focus not on "Performance" which is an oucome, but instead focus on that which defines performance ~ "Behavior".  Behavior is the answer, the tool to use to get the outcome, to get the performance.

"Provide a roadmap:  a path with a clear set of behaviors"

So the answer is to provide a roadmap that defines the path with a clear set of behaviors, or stages, for the staff to follow which ultimately achieve a high performing outcome.  By providing a relevant and pragmatic experience that occurs on a regular basis, the leader assisting the employee and the employee will then respond positively and see results, and the company will be stronger for it.

Copyright © 2015, Jonathan Creaghan all rights reserved

Jonathan Creaghan helps clients transform themselves and their workplaces.  He believes that businesses ultimately succeed or fail because of the human factor.  He teaches people to think differently, to see reality with fresh eyes when solving issues that impede them, whether personal or business.  Jonathan provides “Solutions for the Human Side of Business”.

 Jonathan is the creator of the  Leadership Stages Assessment and TotalLeader® Development Program. He is the author of several books including Duxter’s Leap, Thinking Differently® about… Getting More Done, Succession.  His books are published around the globe in several languages.  Jonathan is also a sought after contributor for leadership blogs originating in North America and the Middle East.