Traditionally, annual reviews have been the accepted standard for employers. However, many factors can contribute to deciding how and how often you should be conducting reviews. Learn more about what to consider when implementing your performance reviews and feedback schedules with your team.
The Point of Performance Reviews
Performance reviews used to be a formal, once-a-year process that involved holding employees accountable for their work over the previous 12 months. High performance was rewarded, typically with a raise, while low performers were coached on areas for improvement. But that formal system has become largely antiquated in the modern 24/7, remote or hybrid world. It still makes sense to hold periodic performance reviews, but they should be supplemented by more frequent and casual check-in sessions that provide an ongoing opportunity for two-way feedback. How often to conduct more formal reviews depends on a few factors.
Formal performance reviews are generally tied to raises, which creates a strong incentive for employees to perform at their best. If you can only give annual raises, sticking to a 12-month cycle makes sense. But if your company is in the position to give more frequent raises, bi-annual performance reviews may be a better choice.
Check in with your managers to see how long performance reviews are taking on average. It can be quite time-consuming to dig through 12 months of each employee’s files and judge their performance. In some cases, performing reviews every six months can save a great deal of time overall.
The modern world moves fast, and the strongest employees are those who can roll with the changes. This means that mistakes, and in some cases accomplishments, from 10 or 11 months ago may be entirely irrelevant today. If you’re in a fast-developing industry, holding reviews every six months can help ensure that employees are judged on the most up-to-date standards.
You’ll also have to balance this against how long it takes employees to implement the changes that are agreed upon in formal performance reviews. For example, a software developer may not be able to fully implement improvements until your next product ships. If you ship on a 12-month cycle, a six-month review won’t give you much to go on when assessing improvements.
Ultimately, there is no right answer for how often to give performance reviews. But considering the factors above will help you decide what is best for your team.
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