Performance reviews – an HR process or a business tool?

Is it that time of year again? It only happens formally once a year in most organisations but the investment in making the performance review happen is huge. Many managers have chosen to believe that there is no value in this paper-shuffling HR-driven exercise and, as a consequence, facilitate it badly without recognising the damage it does to the perception their staff have of their ability as a manager. At best it’s a chat with no guidance, purpose or outcome; at worst, it’s a prescriptive box-ticking exercise.

Think this is doom and gloom? Ask yourself when was the last time you heard: ‘Ooh, excellent, I’m really looking forward to doing the performance reviews with my team this year!’

To be fair, good leaders are having performance enhancing conversations with their team constantly throughout the year. But too often these conversations aren’t linked back into the annual administrative piece of the exercise.

So what’s to be done?

Three steps to success

  • Define a process which is functional across the whole year by linking it to other processes such as training needs analysis, internal moves, restructures, etc. Then stick with a system to give it a chance to become culturally normed – don’t mess with the paperwork, which is rarely the heart of the issue.
  • Guide and coach the sceptics to overcome resistance. Train line managers to see the process as a vital tool for maintaining and growing ROI.
  • Sell the benefits, highlight the outcomes and share success stories. Show the audience the results which can be achieved in motivation, morale, performance and achievement when done well.

How can we help you?

Depending on your specific issues, we can:

  • Design support to create an effective process which runs alongside business and HR processes across the year.
  • Evaluate and report on the findings of the exercise to the managers, teams, and organisation.
  • Assist with the building of a development plan for the organisation to support the training, coaching, learning and development, talent and succession planning for the future.


Our thanks to Jocelyn for writing this page.

For a no-obligation discussion about how our employee relations support services could help your organisation, please just give us a call on 01582 463462 and we’ll happily put you in touch with a consultant, so that you can discuss it directly with them.