The annual performance review has long been a staple of performance management in the business world. However, in today’s rapidly evolving workplace, providing employees with the feedback and support they need to improve and grow is no longer enough. In the latest Voices of HR podcast, “Why Annual Reviews Are Not Enough,” our expert, John Smith, explores the limitations of annual performance reviews and offers insights on how to make the evaluation process more effective. 

There are many reasons why annual performance reviews fall short in today’s workplace. Smith notes that these reviews are often seen as a “check-the-box” exercise, lack constructive feedback, and fail to provide employees with the ongoing support they need to improve their performance. As annual reviews are often too far apart to provide timely feedback, employees are left with outdated information that is of little use in enhancing their performance.  

To overcome these limitations, organizations are encouraged to adopt a more iterative approach to performance management. This involves providing employees with ongoing feedback and coaching rather than waiting for an annual review. By providing regular feedback, managers can help employees identify areas where they need to improve and provide support and guidance to help them achieve their goals.  

Recent studies have also shown that employees want to be more involved in their evaluation process. Giving employees a voice in their evaluation makes them more likely to be engaged in the process and take ownership of their development. This can be done by setting clear goals and objectives and involving them in regular check-ins and feedback sessions. By leveraging technology, organizations can ensure a more data-driven and objective approach to performance management, which can help to reduce bias and improve overall fairness across the organization. 

Creating a culture of continuous performance management requires a shift in mindset from both managers and employees. It involves creating a safe and open environment for feedback and coaching, where employees feel comfortable sharing their challenges and receiving constructive input to improve. By implementing a continuous performance management strategy supported by technology and a culture of open communication, organizations can help drive employee growth and development, improve organizational agility, and ultimately achieve better business outcomes. 

This podcast offers a thought-provoking perspective on why annual reviews are insufficient and why a more continuous approach to performance management is essential is a wake-up call for organizations. By adopting a culture of continuous performance management, organizations can support their employees’ growth and development, leading to increased engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational performance.  

Stream now! This podcast is now available from:

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Thank you to  HRMorning: Powered by SuccessFuel and Berta Aldrich for welcoming emPerform’s John Smith to present in your Voices of HR podcast!


Align, Develop & Retain Top Talent with emPerform 

emPerform includes the tools needed to identify and engage high-performing teams. With online reviews, year-round goal tracking, ongoing feedback, pulse surveys & complete merit & bonus management – you can create a performance program that drives engagement & results.  

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John Smith, the Director, Enterprise Business Solutions here at emPerform, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In the episode, Smith shares his insight on performance standardization, the recency effect, and the benefits of automated performance management.


Below are five biggest takeaways from the conversation.

1. The size of a company affects how it experiences HR software.

In smaller size organizations, people know each other a little better and communication can be a little bit softer. In larger organizations, it tends to be a much more structured, almost scientific-like process. Usually larger organizations have what we call anniversary-style reviews going on, and actually that can happen in the smaller ones as well, but usually that means reviews happen all the time. Every day somebody is in reviews. So the big organizations have a lot more structure around them, there’s a lot more to think about, and there are a lot more groups to impact.


2. Performance management data provides insight to employee trends and can improve workflow processes.

Analyzing the data is one of the biggest benefits of automating a performance management solution. Because if you step back and look at it, all organizations are striving to do that. For most organizations, if you look at their financial statement, the biggest cost they have on it is the cost of people’s salaries and benefits related to people. So we need tools to measure the performance that we’re getting from that investment in our people.

The automation of the solution means that we can extrapolate trends, we can look at performance reviews year over year. More importantly, if we think about it as a development opportunity, we can look for gaps. What are the gaps, and what kinds of things can we do to help them through that, and help people improve?

So all of those benefits come out of it but there is whole bunch of reporting and analytics we put around it to make sure that we are getting the right information out of it, to help people make decisions and understand the talent profile in the organization.


3. Reviews once a year don’t cut it anymore.

The biggest trend that’s seen in the last decade basically comes in two forms. The first one, and the one that is the newest, and the one getting a lot of attention, is what’s called Continuous Year-Round Feedback. Basically what it means is that getting together with your manager to talk about performance once a year just isn’t enough.

We’ve got some tools built-in for this. At emPerform, we have something called tag, where it allows us to give feedback to anybody we worked with at any time. It’s almost like giving high fives. Let them get recognized for that, and that tag can actually make it into their appraisal as a comment from a peer. So it’s almost like a soft 360-degree review, in a way. But really, it’s all about giving feedback as it happens, capturing the observation as you see it.


4. The recency effect plagues most performance reviews.

The big benefit with Continuous Year-Round Feedback is that it overcomes one of the biggest problems with performance management. From the manager’s point-of-view, there is something called the recency effect. It means managers often only remember what happened in the last six or eight weeks. So this idea of continuous feedback, notes during the year, helps us remember key events and observations at that point in time.


5. The 360-degree review is on the rise again.

We’re seeing a lot of interest in peer review and 360-degree feedback a lot. It seems to go in phases. A while ago, it was maybe not as popular as it is today, but it’s back. It’s the idea that lets us put more voices into the process so we get a well-rounded perspective on the employee’s performance.

The best examples of the 360 or the peer reviews we’ve seen are when the gaps point out development opportunities. So if it comes back that there’s some gaps that are sighted, it’s good because we use it as a positive way to plan for development.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland. Josh Bland is a Digital Marketing Specialist podcasting about technology, business, and marketing at TechnologyAdvice. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about ongoing performance management and 360-degree feedback from emPerform: watch the tour