Yet research shows that talent management practices like the performance review do bring tangible financial value to organisations.
So how do you get employees, and managers for that matter, engaged so everyone gets value from the process?
Here are a few tactics that work.
Shift the focus
Who wants to be judged? Yet that's what most companies and managers focus on when it comes to employee performance reviews: the ratings and rankings. If you shift the focus to employee development and success, you're much more likely to deliver value to employees and engage them in the process.
Managers should be giving employees feedback and coaching on their performance all year round, and assigning appropriate development activities to help employees continually develop their knowledge, skills and abilities and improve their performance.
The focus should be on helping each employee be the best that they can be, and deliver the greatest value to the organisation, not on judging and limiting them. And the annual review should function primarily as a tool for "wrapping up" or summarising the dialogue and activities that have been taking place all year round. This more positive focus demonstrates a commitment to the employee's success and increases employee engagement.
Get employees to play an active role
Employees are much more likely to be engaged in a programme where they play an active role. So engage them in the performance review process by having them do things like:
• Complete a self-appraisal and share it with their manager
• Provide feedback on the performance of others as part of a 360 degree review process
• Draft their goals for the coming year, linking them to organisational goals
• Draft development plans to help them improve their performance and advance their career, and identify appropriate learning activities
By shifting the onus and accountability for performance and development on the employee (where it should belong), you better engage them in their work and career development and generally drive higher performance.
Use the data
It's hard to get managers and employees engaged in a process that no one seems to care about. If you never do anything with the data you gather from your process like implement targeted development programmes for individuals and groups, align goals, or make decisions about compensation, promotions and work assignments why should your employees care about it?
You need to gather and analyse the data you collect, then use it to make better business decisions. And communicate the fact that some of the programmes and decisions you've implemented have used employee review data as guides.
Employee performance reviews, when well executed, can deliver tremendous value to the employee and the organisation. And who wouldn't want to be engaged with a process that helps drive their success?
Sean Conrad is a senior product analyst at Halogen Software.