Maybe Once a Year Performance Review is Not Enough

Joe Weinlick
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Performance reviews used to be an annual occurrence. An employee sat down and talked with his supervisor for 30 minutes to an hour while laying everything out on the table. However, that old paradigm is slowly disappearing as more and more employers increase the frequency of regular reviews. Studies and data show these additional reviews serve several purposes.

Survey Says

A survey from HighGround of 525 managers and 525 employees, published in early 2017, reveals that just 7 percent of managers have conversations about an employee's performance once per year. A staggering 60 percent of supervisors between the ages of 18 and 35 hold weekly check-ins versus 39 percent of bosses ages 52 to 70. Clearly, there's a delineation between older supervisors and younger ones when it comes to performance reviews.

Perhaps the reason for this generational difference comes from using technology. Younger people generally embrace technology better, so managers of a younger age may incorporate performance management software to help streamline, aggregate and analyze an employee's performance. Data give managers a snapshot of the present, how an employee performed over a certain time and what needs improvement.

Better Feedback

Both managers and employees feel good about weekly check-ins, notes HighGround. A full 73 percent of managers who have weekly meetings feel these small-scale performance reviews help them track the progress of workers better compared to just 52 percent of bosses who have reviews twice per year. The survey's authors believe that more frequent conversations about performance lead to better work, more productivity and better output from employees.

Shorter Meetings

Rather than spend an hour going through the previous year of an employee's work ethic, 61 percent of managers who employ weekly check-ins use this time to discuss a worker's performance goals, while 29 percent talk about career development and advancement. Because these performance reviews are more frequent, they are shorter. Nearly 80 percent of supervisors said these check-ins last less than 30 minutes while one-third said they last 10 minutes or less.

These regular, shorter meetings actually save time and money. The time spent aggregating performance on a weekly basis means supervisors don't have to waste time compiling information for annual performance reviews. When you consider that supervisors spend an average of 210 hours per year on performance-management activities, the time savings alone lets managers focus on other important matters.

Streamlining reviews saves money, but it also produces more accurate results. Rather than trying to recall something that happened six months ago during an annual process, weekly check-ins allow managers to record information when it's fresh in everyone's minds. Since companies rely on accurate data for analysis, businesses that increase the frequency of reviews have a competitive edge over those that do not.

Thanks to software that continually improves and gets less expensive, supervisors can easily input data from performance reviews to analyze how workers improve. These programs become vital tools, combined with frequent check-ins, to gauge employee effectiveness.

Photo courtesy of arswino at


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