Are Yearly Reviews Effective?

Acclimating the dinosaur to our new workplace climate

It doesn’t matter what part of the country I’m in, every property is asking the question, “Are yearly reviews effective anymore? They take up so much time and they don’t seem to work. How can we update this process?”

The process of a supervisor calling you into their office, giving you a numeric rating, and having you sign and leave……are over. That is an ineffective process that can, in fact, do the opposite of what the intent is, which is to reward and recognize team member accomplishments and support them were they need help.

Where is the process broken?

If 45% of HR personnel thinks yearly reviews don’t provide an accurate account of team member work (from Neuroleadership), and 69% of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were recognized (per Semoscloud), where do we start?

The data shows that the biggest problem with yearly reviews is in the bias of the assessor. In fact, 62% of their judgment reflects the supervisor and not the team member. What’s worse, 57% of organizations are doing nothing about this bias. This makes the entire process invalid. I know when I was doing yearly reviews for those I led, I didn’t feel that they helped the team member reach their goals. We seemed to go over the same issues each year, and there didn’t seem to be a plan to follow through with development or a way to help them reach their goals.

I believe if we focus on the development of the leaders administering the assessments, we will be on the right track to reviving this vital procedure. Consistency is the first place to start, every person in a leadership position should be given the same tools. If you notice a high rate of turnover in a department, you can attribute it to leadership development, or lack of. We know frequent feedback and appreciation creates trust; every leader needs to know how to do this in our environment.

Leading Our Leaders

The first place we start – Self-Development of the leadership team. Semoscloud says 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with employees in general, this must change. We will be assessing what motivates them, highlighting their strengths and revealing their deficiencies. We want them to have a “learning plan” to track their development and see their improvement over time. We have found the Enneagram assessment is the most effective way to develop leaders with the quickest results by developing their emotional intelligence while giving them tools to self-regulate.

After they have a strong Self-Foundation, we want them to have the skills and desire to develop strong relationships with those they lead. They will need a proven way to develop and sustain trust. We want them to be able to “go in” when there is a problem instead of distancing themselves from the problem. 57% of team members say that they do not get clear directions. We need them to have the skill necessary to change tactics when needed.

Once they have mastered that process, they need to be able to rally a team and get them working together, in unison. Very much in the way Pete Carol of the Seattle Seahawks does, we must master a new team by developing trust and creating a plan of accountability. That’s how we start winning!

The new “Year in Review” assessment

Now we are ready to become effective coaches! I think the Yearly Review process is really a year in review, where we are able to reward and recognize their strengths and review the progress they’ve made.

Here are the steps:

  1. Agree on what an effective coach is for your property.
  2. Agree that your coaches need to address both results and behavior
  3. Make sure you have an environment that will foster success (the problem might not be the people; it might be the process)
  4. Introduce yourself as their coach; communicate your vision and philosophy as a coach. Let them know your process, will you be setting up quarterly appointments or are you going to casually check in?
  5. Build Trust: Step 1 Ethics, Step 2 Emotional Intelligence, Step 3 Alignment, Step 4 Potential, and Step 5 Success
  6. Go over their role and unique contribution, ask their goals and assess their trust with you.
  7. Prepare your Reward and Recognition System – Formal vs. Informal
  8. List their priorities and development opportunities
  9. Create and action plan using SMART Goals
  10. Check in at least quarterly, asking what their needs are to meet their goals.
  11. Develop a follow up report to accompany HR’s formal yearly review.
  12. Assess what was accomplished throughout the year.
  13. Assess the relationship between the coach and the team member. Did we stick to our plan? Were our goals met? What can we do to improve?

I hope we can agree our yearly review process needs to be revised. The most cost-effective place to start is in our most renewable natural resource – our leaders. We need to take a holistic approach to their development. More importantly, we need to take responsibility for the lack of their development.

Paula Allen is a Raving Partner with expertise in Leadership and Tribal Member Development. Paula has extensive experience working at all organizational levels creating, promoting, and delivering training solutions designed to support the organization’s goals, business plan, and mission. If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram or other solutions for your leadership team, contact Raving to learn more.

Paula Allen 9 Articles