Why It's Time To Replace Your Annual Performance Reviews With Continuous Feedback
There is no doubt that the practice of conducting performance reviews once or twice a year is broken. For the sake of innovation, enabled by agility, people need more frequent touchpoints with not only their managers but also their colleagues. Look at the main reasons why continuous feedback might be the best fix for this broken system:
Feedback leads to better performance and engagement
Up to 92% of employees agree that feedback leads to better performance. Several studies objectively prove this fact. If you spot that one of your team colleagues needs to step up their game in April, why wait until the following year's end to give them some corrective feedback? They could have been more effective & efficient already.
How meaningful will the discussion be when you barely remember the circumstances? Also, how specific about their actions can you be several months out? Moreover, a year is a long time, and it may as well be that by the end of the year, you will be facing wholly new and different challenges, and feedback on what you did many months ago is already of little relevance.
Feedback leads to growth
By giving feedback on what is going well, and therefore should be continued, and where people need to do something differently or better, we contribute to their learning and growth.
Delivering such feedback at the very end of the year robs your people of all the time they could spend learning new skills, trying different approaches, and developing new competencies.
In some cases, one feedback session is simply not enough. Development takes time. Some things need to be repeated, while others accepted and worked on gradually - only when they become internalized do people approach them automatically.
Feedback is only as effective as how well it is given
For feedback to be effective, you need to be able to give it well. Otherwise, there is a risk that the other party will not accept it, or worse, that it will have the exact opposite effect than intended.
For example, one factor that hinders acceptance is too much formality. And if there is one thing typical for annual evaluations as opposed to continuous feedback, it is their formal and often overly structured approach stripped of empathy.
Also, how do you convince people to change their behaviors or actions when they've been fine up until now?
Having a nice horde of topics collected for the annual review meetings does not help either; absorbing them all at once can be a mouthful. That kind of feedback can choke you as surely as if you stuffed a whole pie in your mouth at once - regardless of how delicious it is.