Performance Reviews: Is Less More or Is More Less?
Performance Review
January 31, 2019

When it comes to performance reviews, there is always controversy. In part, because it is such a cumbersome process and brings many organizations to their knees for several months, if on a common review date. For the last several years, performance review practices have been examined by many organizations with an eye toward wanting to devote LESS time and effort to a process that often yields the following results:

  • 95% of managers aren’t satisfied with the company’s performance management process
  • 66% of employees say that their review process interferes with productivity
  • 65% of employees say that the performance reviews are not relevant to their jobs
  • 90% of HR professionals don’t believe that their company’s performance reviews provide accurate information

Corporate Executive Board, 2018

These results may lead you to want to do LESS in completing performance reviews for your employees, allotting MORE time for other work. Several Fortune 500 companies have advertised that they have adopted a practice that sounds like LESS; they have eliminated the formal performance review in favor of more frequent coaching sessions between managers and employees. If you dig below the surface of this practice, however, you will soon conclude that such companies are spending MORE time on performance, but in a LESS structured way.

In a recent TriNet survey, 85% of employees said they’d feel more confident if they could have more frequent conversations with their managers; 25% want to know they are meeting expectations. Having more frequent conversations is one way to help keep employees motivated and engaged. Positive reinforcement elevates performance by helping employees gain confidence. Postponing conversations and feedback also have deep impact. Additionally, a recent survey of millennials finds 62% have felt “blindsided” by a performance review, and 74% said they feel “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing.

So how often should you have quality conversations? More often than you think.

Less than one in 10 millennials think weekly communication is enough, in fact, 35% want it multiple times a day, while 25% think once a day is fine.

So, should we focus MORE or LESS on performance? The answer may be in MORE informal and LESS formal performance coaching and feedback interactions. The results of this approach may yield much MORE satisfying performance reviews and LESS inaccuracy and frustration for both employers and their employees.

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.


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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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