Performance reviews – are we seeing a real change?

Accenture announced in July that they are getting rid of their annual performance reviews for their 330,000 employees – they are one of a number of major multi-nationals who have decided not to use this long-held traditional form of review – others include Microsoft and Deloitte.

Are we seeing a major shift in how we assess, analyse, motivate and manage employees?

The major issue here is not the performance review process – it’s how we manage our employees to maximise their abilities and ensure they deliver the right results for the organisation. To do this we don’t necessarily need a complex performance review process – we need GOOD managers!  An excellent performance review process will not work if we have managers who are either not interested, not competent or afraid of going through the process. However, a good performance review process does help if the organisation does not have an environment where the manager is networking and interacting on a regular basis – particularly difficult in multi-site situations.

What Accenture have actually done is NOT ditch the performance review, they have just stopped comparing employees where there are not exact comparisons – so they are now reviewing the individual against their own objectives. Accenture states that they are implementing ‘a more fulid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments’.

So – how do we proceed? We should provide immediate feedback to employees as often as we can, ensuring that they are fully aware of how they are performing, and they will know exactly how they are perceived by their manager. If this is complimented by a simple, useful performance review process, this will be helpful. However, having a dreaded annual meeting to fill out a cumbersome form that neither the manager or employee will look at until the following year – is how NOT to do it.