Performance Reviews – A Focus on the Future

November 13, 2019
MRA Edge
Performance Management
Read time: 3 mins

What’s the value of telling someone today what he or she did wrong last year? You’re right—not much. It’s long gone. In a nutshell, that’s why we’re seeing a transformation of performance evaluations. Organizations are finding that sitting down with an employee once a year is too formal and ineffective. More frequent, informal conversations are the new way to go when it comes to performance management.

A Few More Reasons for the Switch:

  • Employers want to deal with issues in the moment, adjust and move forward, keeping communication open and employee development evolving.
  • The rate of change is so high now, it doesn’t always make sense to set a yearly goal, it will most likely look different in a few short months.
  • Employees are doing work with more variability in it. The new model is to manage and coach employees and make progress together instead of simply reviewing.

The word coaching is used more and more these days. Forward thinking companies are striving to build a coaching culture within their organizations, and for good reasons. First off, coaching conversations help give employees the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need for ongoing professional and personal development and job success. In addition, coaching supports employee growth and achievement through constructive communication, frequent feedback, and strategies for removing roadblocks. Quite the opposite of an annual performance evaluation.

While more organizations are realizing that the once-a-year evaluation of checking off certain grading characteristics doesn’t provide a whole lot of value, rated reviews are still happening in many places. Some companies need to know if employees are doing their jobs correctly or incorrectly—take for instance a machinist’s job. These employees’ reviews need to be based on how well they are running a specific piece of equipment. But here’s the change—the difference in these evaluations should be in the frequency of the conversations. Managers should talk more often with employees about how well (or not) they are doing at their jobs, so they can continuously strive to perform at a higher level.

Companies have found value in separating the performance review conversations from the yearly raise discussion. While the two conversations are tied together, having both at once often results in the employee listening for the raise info and not listening to the performance talk.

A Tool of Torture?

The evaluation form can be one of the most complicated tools within a company, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s meant to summarize how an employee has accomplished work, identify areas that need attention, and help employees set goals for the future—all in alignment with overall business goals. Your review tool should:

  • Include input from both the manager and employee about accomplishments, and what worked and didn’t work.
  •  Set performance goals.
  • Offer the chance to talk about professional development, opportunities, and aspirations.
  • Identify a plan on how to achieve these goals and aspirations.

It should not be a long, arduous, painful process. If that’s the case, it’s time for a change.

Reviewing is looking backward. Managing and coaching are moving forward. Which way does your organization face?

If your business needs a nudge in the right direction, visit our website where you’ll find all kinds of help including guides, classes, and articles on performance evaluations, performance management, and coaching. And we are available to you 24/7 by connecting with our Hotline at 866.474.6854 or emailing us at

MRA Edge Nov Dec 2019 resized

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