A Shift of Focus in Performance Reviews

In a public survey conducted by Deloitte, more than half the executive participants indicated that their current method of evaluating employees' work neither drove employee engagement nor encouraged high performance: it depended too much on past results and offered no practical look into the future. We are in need of something nimbler, real-time, and individualized.  

One Quick Shift

In preparation for the next performance review, ask managers to choose a high performer, average performer, and low performer, and ask them what they would do with the employee to recognize, capture, and fuel performance.

Having your managers adopt this habit ensures that when the next performance review comes, their behaviors will reflect a culture of agility, constant learning, and engagement. And when delivered, employees not only feel more valued, but also empowered to contribute greater to their own career plans. This is where alignment happens. 

Performance Snapshot, Deloitte's Radical Redesign

Many large companies are now shifting their focus from annual reviews to project or quarterly reviews. In Deloitte's case, it's projects. And upon the conclusion of every project, team leaders are asked to respond to four future-focused statements about each member.

  1. Given what I know of this person's performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus (measuring overall performance and unique value).
  2. Given what I know of this person's performance, I would always want him or her on my team (measures ability to work well with others).
  3. This person is at risk for low performance (identifies problems that might hurt the customer or team.
  4. This person is ready for promotion today (measures potential).  

In effect, instead of asking team members what they think of the individual, this assesses what they would do with the individual. Deloitte then takes this simple yet powerful data as a starting point for compensation, also factoring details such as difficulty of project, contributions outside of projects. To continue fueling performance, team leaders are expected to meet with team members weekly to set purpose, strengths, and expectations. 

The annual compensation decision, the project performance snapshot, and the weekly check-in. What do you see? I see consistency. I see engagement. I see motivation. What do you see?

Content is based on HBR's 10 Must-Reads of 2016Buckingham and Goodall