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Annual performance reviews kill workplace performance

The longer Australians wait for performance reviews the poorer their performance and motivation in the workplace, a recent survey has found.performance reviews

The Motivation by Anticipation survey, conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada, found the mere thought of getting immediate constructive feedback would encourage performance improvements.  The participants in the survey who expected to get their feedback on a project immediately did significantly better than those who had to wait up to 17 days, with performance steadily deteriorating as the gap between execution and feedback was increased.

It is time managers to put this knowledge about performance reviews into practice and realise that annual performance reviews are mostly ineffective, outdated and pointless, says high performance coach and workplace management expert Tony Wilson.

“The traditional performance review rarely does anything to improve staff motivation, sense of purpose or output,” said Mr Wilson.

“They’re usually a means to validate expenditure, lobby for bonuses and often to justify the review itself. The largely one-sided process of engaging in a prolonged dialogue about too many different key performance indicators simply don’t work.”

“People don’t like doing them and that goes for both managers and staff,” Mr Wilson added.

Managers should scrap annual reviews and switch to giving weekly feedback instead, says Mr Wilson.

“Performance science tells us that to improve, we need feedback and the more immediate it is, the more likely we are to progress,” Mr Wilson said.

“When they realise (performance reviews are) going to be regular and constructive, the benefits will start to kick in.  Staff will begin to feel more supported and engaged, and managers will see the eventual results in retention levels and overall performance of their team,” Mr Wilson advised.

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Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke

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