Performance reviews – ugh. Personally, I liken them to a trip to the Hot Waxer- you know it’s coming and you try to prepare as best you can. Furthermore, if you leave it too long between each visit- you can leave scared, in pain and questioning why you do it at all.

Take the average PR process:

You sit down with your boss and they set the KPI’s at the start of the year. You are supposed to have a regular “catch-up” (if it fits into both your schedules) to discuss WIP, concerns, obstacles. If you are lucky you will have some sort of 6 monthly review to make sure you are on track. Then, for the most of us it’s all a lead up to the Grand Finale, 12 months later where you sit for one to two hours with your boss and your boss’ boss, who ask you questions about how you feel you have performed. You score yourself (which you had to do a week prior with a template emailed to you from the faceless HR Manager in another state). They score you. They map it on a chart and plot you on a graph (some type of skill/will matrix). This then cascades down to calculate if you are worthy of a salary increase, promotion or bonus.  Essentially you have either nailed or failed the past 12 months. Sound familiar? So inspiring…review

I am a parent; I have three children under 6. They are constantly learning. About everything. It is my job to show them love, lead by example, assist them to overcome obstacles and give them feedback on how they are doing… as human beings (no pressure Mum!) Effectively it is my job to review their performance. Can you imagine doing that once a year? Once a week even? Too much, Too late. Immediate, real time feedback is the key to success. Real time, “on the job” feedback and development to ensure they are being the best they can be. This means continual praise, continual constructive criticism, contextual checks of behaviour and consistent reminders of values and morals. Now if my husband and I are only having a conversation about these things with them once a year, would that not indicate that our expectations around these things are only an annual proposition rather than continuous? My children would certainly believe that and would behave accordingly.

The same goes for the workforce; asking employees to only reflect on their performance, goals, objectives and behaviours once a year is far too infrequent.

In a bold move recently The CEO of Accenture Pierre Nanterme announced that the 330,000 person wide organisation is cutting 90% of their performance review process. 90%!! They (along with 6% of other fortune 500 companies) are moving to a more continuous method of measuring performance rather than an annual rankings system. Hallelujah!

Management Research firm CEB found that “Employees that do best in performance management systems tend to be the employees that are the most narcissistic and self-promoting,” said Brian Kropp, the HR practice leader for CEB. “Those aren’t necessarily the employees you need to be the best organisation going forward.”

“The smartest companies are asking, how do we get the best value out of the time and money we are spending?” Kropp said.

CEB estimates that a company of about 10,000 employees spends roughly $35 million a year to conduct reviews and each manager spends roughly 200 hours a year on PR related activity.


Nanterme said, “The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating. It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.”

Imagine living in a world where as an employee, you knew at any moment in time, what you were doing (clarity), why you were doing it (alignment) and how you were going (leadership & feedback)? Short, sharp, constructive conversations on a continual basis keeps us all moving in the same direction to the collective desired outcome.

Would this work for your organisation?

Deanna Keating – Senior Consultant

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