Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Annual Review? Or would you prefer more frequent reviews?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, author Rachel Emma Silverman suggests that annual reviews are too few and far between. I agree.
To quote Ms. Silverman, "With many younger workers used to instant feedback--from text messages to Facebook and Twitter updates-- annual reviews seem too few and far between. so companies are adopting quarterly, weekly or even daily feedback sessions."

I wish she hadn't overlooked not-so-young workers who are increasingly involved with social networking and also becoming accustomed to instant feedback!

Ms. Silverman points to Facebook, Inc., the social network with 2,000 employees who are encouraged to solicit and give brief feedback regularly...after meetings, presentations and projects. This is a 45-second conversation that answers such questions as "How did it go?" and "What could be done better?" that require no formal meetings.

In my opinion, instant -- or at least more frequent -- feedback is much more constructive.

When the employee has done something well, let them know. A pat on the back increases confidence and productivity. If improvement is needed, let them know that, too, so that steps can be taken immediately to rectify the situation. Waiting until December to let employees know they're not quite cutting the mustard is a huge waste of time.

Law firms traditionally perform annual reviews. This dreaded ritual (does anyone really look forward to an annual review?) is usually information overload. When employees try to absorb everything from appraisals of past performance, setting future goals, discussing pay, etc, they tend to dwell on criticism. Do they really hear the constructive suggestions for improvement?

While an annual review to discuss salary increases (or, perhaps, to discuss WHY there will be no salary increase in these difficult economic times -- I'm speaking from experience here!) will remain necessary, wouldn't you feel better knowing throughout the year that you are doing a good job? Or, if there is room for improvement, what you can do NOW to earn that salary increase?

I'm wondering what you think of annual salary reviews? Would you prefer more frequent feedback?

To read the full Wall Street Journal Article, follow this link:

1 comment:

Alex said...

A good manager gives feedback on an ongoing basis as a normal course of doing their job. A not-so-good manager would be less communicative and leave folks guessing as to their performance.

Formalizing that into quarterly reviews might be helpful at the Year End Event by having a record and not relying on the memory of the manager and employee.