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If you’re like most employees, you dread annual performance reviews.

So why are they still happening at most companies around the world?

I’ve long shared my disdain for annual performance reviews, and I’m not alone. Research has found that most annual performance reviews are ineffective because they provide feedback without context, are typically one-sided towards the employee, and don’t actually improve performance. One study found that just 14% of employees agree that performance reviews inspire them to improve.

There has to be a better way.

Instead of getting feedback just once a year, companies need to create a more constant feedback system. Instead of waiting eight months to get feedback, an employee can get feedback the same day and start applying it right away.

Many companies are afraid of totally ditching annual performance reviews, but there are still a few things you can do:

  • Set a time to regularly get feedback from your manager. It could be once a week or once a month–whatever works for you. Even a 15-minute standing feedback session can open the doors for regular, open communication.
  • Start within your team. Encourage regular feedback and performance reviews in your team. Regularly open the floor to feedback so you can continually improve and make real-time adjustments. With any luck, your team’s idea will spread to the rest of the company.
  • Recognize your peers. Don’t wait until the end of the year to recognize someone for a job well done. You don’t have to be a leader to appreciate someone’s hard work and progress. A nice email, a handwritten note, or public recognition can go far and help build a culture of continuous recognition and improvement.

Feedback is important. The idea behind annual performance reviews is solid–employees need feedback to grow and improve. But the execution is often flawed and can be greatly improved.

No matter your role in the company, you can take a stand against annual reviews and work to create a culture where feedback happens all the time, not just once a year.

. . .

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