Performance reviews let everyone know where they stand. They're a perfect opportunity for employees to hear structured commentary from more experienced colleagues, to learn what they do well or get tips on how to improve. Employees can use feedback from performance reviews to set new personal objectives and advance their careers.
What's wrong with the traditional approach?
There's a lot of negative feedback about performance review systems on the web. In our opinion, it's because most companies take the concept way too far. Too many HR managers believe that the lengthier the process of measuring employee performance, the more accurate the results it yields. We frequently get inquiries like "can we put all our 35 questions into the forms? Where do our 25 rating categories go?" — but this focus on metrics usually backfires. The more you measure, the longer the process takes, the more people hate it. The more people hate it — the less accurate the results become.
Our approach: Keep the review simple
We believe that a lightweight process achieves more. The way we see it, an employee should spend no more than 2 hours on his self-assessment. The manager should also be able to prepare that team member's performance review in around 2 hours. The two could then meet face-to-face for not more than an hour, then fine-tune the review, sign it, and be done in another hour. That's just 4 hours total for the employee, and 4 hours per team member for the manager.
By keeping the process short and sweet, and by using a streamlined tool like Small Improvements, you can easily schedule two or three reviews per year, or for instance mix 2 reviews with 2 peer feedback sessions. Employees will receive feedback in smaller chunks but more frequently, resulting in a less painful process and in more relevant and timely feedback.
How does our performance review system help?
The Small Improvements' user interface is designed for simplicity. Certain features, for example the continuous feedback module, will be familiar to anyone who's used Facebook. As for editing and saving private works-in-progress in Small Improvements, it's a cinch -- much simpler than even Microsoft Word. Staff will enjoy using our application, and we take care of all the paperwork and backups for you. Obviously writing the reviews is still work, but the software even makes this easier! Relevant prior feedback given in Small Improvements is easily accessible for you to use as resource material when you write reviews.
Ratings vs Feedback
The ultimate goal is to help staff improve, not to make them feel inadequate and miserable. Our product has a refreshingly minimal approach with respect to metrics, and encourages written feedback and conversations over ratings. You may use ratings, of course, but we see ratings as a means, not as a goal. We just don't think ratings are nearly as helpful as written feedback, so we'd encourage you to only rate what you must — that way, your managers can focus as much energy as possible on writing constructive feedback to help employees improve their performance in the future, and not waste their time arguing over a multitude of ratings.
We provide three main documentation pages: One for the end user, one for managers, and one for the administrator who sets up the process and tracks progress
- First, learn how to write your own performance review. You can look at the screenshots, or watch the video if you prefer. It's really simple: Everything happens on a single page.
- Then, if you're a manager or work in HR, check out the review process from a manager's perspective.
- Next, read about how an administrator sets up reviews for everyone. Our system ships with plenty of sample data to play around with, but this document explains the details when you want to get going for real.
- Finally, learn about reporting and how to track progress across the organization . We're not that into metrics, but we do have a fun-to-use 2D assessment chart you can use. Here's documentation on how to plot the entire company on a single performance overview graph.
Ideally, the exchange of performance feedback should be ongoing, and feedback shouldn't all come from your boss. That's why you can use the 360 degree feedback module in combination with classic performance reviews. Also, staff can give each other tips or praise anytime using the continuous feedback module, even if an official review cycle isn't going on. In the spirit of "social performance reviews," staff can even award each other cute little badges. All these bits of feedback will be easy for you to access later on, so you can take them into account when it comes time to do formal performance reviews again.
That's it! Performance review software really doesn't have to be more complicated than this. Next up: Learn how to improve your performance by defining personal objectives and goals for the future based on the feedback you receive.