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Ask HRK: Are annual reviews still the best practice?

By February 27, 2020No Comments

Dear HR Knowledge: Are annual reviews still the best practice?

It’s no secret that the phrase “annual review time” makes both managers and employees cringe at the thought of writing a year’s worth of feedback in one or two sittings. We often are asked by employers if annual reviews are still a best practice.

HR Knowledge still firmly believes annual reviews are important and we have not yet jumped off that bandwagon — as providing time to give formal and documented feedback is necessary for so many reasons. However, we have jumped on the bandwagon for more frequent check-ins and rethinking how and when employees should receive feedback.

According to management research firm CEB, 42% of employees consider annual reviews ineffective, mainly because feedback comes at the end of the year when it has almost no relevance. And 95% of managers are dissatisfied with their company’s performance review process, according to the same study.

We think there is a better way and that employers should consider shifting from the once-a-year review to a more modern approach to performance management that allows employers to more frequently coach employees. Let’s face it: in today’s tough job market, with few qualified candidates, working more closely with your existing employees to improve their performance is a far better option than trying to replace employees. This is where we believe frequent check-ins are invaluable.

There are a number of ways to implement frequent check-ins — managers can use the weekly or biweekly one-on-one method or meet with employees on a monthly or quarterly basis. At HR Knowledge, we find implementing a 30-, 60-, 90-day, 6-month, and annual review for new employees and then moving to a weekly one-on-one is a highly effective way to provide more relevant feedback and coaching. Meeting more often enables the manager to tailor feedback to specific employee performance and provides the opportunity for pinpoint coaching. Scheduling individual check-in meetings at set intervals also allows for goal setting and tracking progress toward those goals throughout the year.

Pairing frequent check-ins with annual reviews will give your employees the opportunity to act on the feedback they have received. It means there will be few, if any, surprises at the annual review. Your employees already know where they have fallen short and how they can make changes to hit milestones and goals, since you have given them growth and development opportunities all along, throughout the year. As an employee, wouldn’t you feel more dedicated to your job if your manager took an interest in your growth more than just once a year?

The People Simplifying HR

For almost twenty years, HR Knowledge has made it our mission to demystify the complex and daunting process of HR management. We do more than just provide the level of service and technology you’d expect from an industry leader. We combine unparalleled passion for service with our decades of HR, payroll, and benefits experience to provide our clients with personalized and actionable advice that is second—to—none. From managed payroll to employee benefits to HR support, we can help your organization thrive, grow, and reduce operating costs—no matter what industry you serve. Whether you’re interested in our Full-Service solution or just need your employee handbook written, HR Knowledge can help you minimize risk while staying on top of compliance regulations. The bottom line? We’re not just another cloud-based technology company that also does HR, #WeAreHR. Get the scoop on how we can help you simplify HR.

This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this advisory, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.