Why You Should Ditch Your Performance Reviews

Every year, more and more organizations are ditching annual performance reviews. If your company is still holding on to this outdated practice, maybe this should be the year you let it go.

Think back over the process for annual reviews and how much time and effort they take—preparing the reviews, discussing them, writing them up, sending them through approvals. It’s a huge chore, a big commitment of time that you (or someone else) can’t devote to the things you’re supposed to be accomplishing.

The biggest problem with annual performance reviews,however, isn’t that they’re time-consuming. It’s that they’re done once a year,so important feedback occurs at a single point in the year instead of being given along the way. It’s a system that doesn’t allow people to improve in real time, making it frustrating for everyone involved.

A better alternative is a frequent check-in,held monthly or weekly or at the end of each project, or on whatever time table works for your people, in which the employee answers six questions:

What are your short- and long-term goals? Leaders should be aware of their people’s goals so there are no hiccups or surprises for anyone. Asking people to outline their goals for the immediate future and for the long run keeps you informed and—just as important—it keeps them focused.

Are you satisfied with your role and responsibilities? There are always expectations of what needs to happen, and people can situate themselves for success if they know how their performance aligns with the company’s objectives, goals and purpose. Regular check-ins allow you to assess performance and provide support and guidance when they’re needed—not when the calendar says it’s time.

What challenges are you facing? The quickest way to overcome a challenge is to treat it not as something to avoid or shy away from but to truly take it on and work through it. When people are facing particularly challenging times, a weekly or monthly check-in it will help you connect them with coaching and guidance, giving them a chance to think of the issues in a new way and keep things moving forward.  

What can be improved or fixed? Encourage people to speak up on process issues, whether they’re simple or complex. When you do, you foster engagement and keep them thinking of ways to make things better. It’s great when people can have a say on how to improve things, not only for themselves but for everyone—and no one is in a better position to see where improvements are needed than the people on the ground.

How can I support you? People work hard and put in tremendous effort,and knowing their leader cares will inspire them to do even more—not once a year until the good feeling wears off, but weekly and even daily. Listening deeply, taking in everything that’s being said and addressing concerns bring benefits to everyone involved.

Are you engaged and satisfied? Engagement and satisfaction have an important influence on performance, and regular check-ins provide leaders with a way to assess and evaluate people’s satisfaction. Engagement and satisfaction should be assessed frequently so any issues can be caught early.

Using frequent check-ins instead of annual performance reviews can provide better communication and constant feedback on an employee’s performance and engagement.

Regular communication results in mutual understanding, and there’s no telling how much an individual will contribute to the team, the company and their own leadership when they are constantly being supported and guided.

Lead from Within: Consider doing away with performance reviews and instead work to build a better relationship with those who work hard and put in tremendous effort. The happier your people are, the longer they will stay and the better they will perform.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Colin Pearson

    14. Dec, 2018

    I certainly agree that *ideally* frequent, continuous, current, meaningful feedback is superior, however, when you have an organization which is very flat in structure and unionized, we feel a start-point will be to compel at least an annual sit-down discussion. That is a minimum; the follow-up which ensues will be the frequent mini-meetings of which you speak…leading to the next, more formal meeting. With so many competing priorities, we find we can’t simply depend upon good leadership/management practice, that we have to institute a structured process to start the good, healthy practice and have some consistency. With “no time” available (!), quieter, steady performers will tend to get ignored or missed out while other fires are extinguished. Would you agree that the basic framework is a reasonable start-point to try to develop an organizational culture of ‘regular feedback’, with the ultimate goal being more frequent, more relevant, less formal practice?

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    • lollydaskal

      18. Dec, 2018

      Every organization needs to decide what works best for them but most companies check the box when it comes to performance reviews by doing them once a year, the reason it’s important to ditch the year end reviews because it keeps leaders and managers on their toes to make dialogue and feedback a constant daily best practice.

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  2. Dee Ann Turner

    04. Nov, 2019

    Your approach is so much more effective in organizations with strong and healthy cultures. Far too much time is spent on the administrative task of the annual performance review vs. actual management of performance. Change is happening too rapidly to depend on annual feedback to make adjustments. They need to be made in real time. If someone is performing well, they need to know that immediately, too, so they can keep doing what is working. To truly be successful at managing performance, people leadership needs to be the primarily role of a leader.

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