I know. You were all in on the trendy call to kill the performance review. Then a funny thing happened - nobody had a better idea of what to do after the ugly beast was killed.
When you think about the problem, the right solution lies at the intersection of these two realities:
2. Most managers of people avoid performance reviews like it's a cold sore on a person they were thinking about kissing. Maybe they're not comfortable with giving feedback, maybe they're stretched on time, etc. Whatever the reason, avoidance is in full bloom.
What's a possible solution? I'm going to grab onto something that's been in play in the engagement industry - flash polling and surveys on engagement. If you've ever seen this, flash surveys ask for smaller bits of information on a more frequent basis. The caveman version of this can even be the employee picking a happy face or a sad face. Interesting, right?
When you think about performance management, I'm not sure the time hasn't come to replace the deeper performance review with a flash survey, completed monthly. Here's how it works in my eyes.
1. I have 10 direct reports? Great, I get 10 emails spread out in a month reminding me I have a flash review due to the employee.
2. Each flash review asks me the rate the employee on a predetermined scale for both job performance and organizational fit. I have to give at least 100 words defending my rating on both, and I have to give at least 50 words telling the employee what they can do in the coming month to raise the rating.
3. Once a baseline is established, every other month I don't even have to rate them - I just pick an "up" or "down" arrow to tell them which way they're trending. I still have to provide the backup via the 100/50 word description of why on job performance and organizational fit though.
4. My internet access on my laptop shuts down if I don't complete the task in 24 hours. It stays off until I submit the feedback (that's the only page that works once shut down).
5. My direct report automatically gets the feedback via email.
6. I get a reminder as soon as I submit it that I need to briefly cover the review with the employee.
7. My employee gets an email ping 48 hours after asking if I have covered it with them. If I haven't, my internet on my laptop goes down again. The employee has to go back in to that email and "re-select" that I did talk to them about it to unfreeze my internet.
I'm thinking everyone involved would get more done. More feedback as well.
Flash performance review driven by technology. And blocked Internet. Problem solved.