7 minute read – Posted by – June 7, 2018

Helping teams achieve more with accurate performance reviews

Growing teams need accurate feedback to improve and thrive. And it’s not just my belief.

‘72% of employees say they thought their performance would improve if given accurate corrective feedback, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

However, for most companies, feedback is only provided to their employees a few times a year as a part of the annual review processes. And we’ve all read a least a few studies that describe the flaws with the traditional review process.

The biggest flaw of the traditional performance reviews is that they are filled with bias. The most common biases are recency bias, where managers put more weight in recent activity just before the review, and central tendency bias, where managers rate all their employees as average.

It’s due to these biases that we, unfortunately, learned from Gallup that:

“74% of employees believe their performance reviews are inaccurate reflections of what they achieved at work.”

So it’s clear that traditional performance reviews weren’t built for the modern employee that wants accurate and frequent feedback.

Take one of our customers for instance:

Prior to their digital transformation over 2 years ago, Radian with 800+ employees was conducting annual performance reviews on paper.

Needless to say, this took a tremendous amount of time and resources.

But most importantly, Radian was opening themselves up to the risk of recency bias—the key culprit of inaccurate performance reviews and dissatisfied employees.

Traditional paper performance reviews created recency bias because they relied heavily on recent memory, incomplete information, and limited performance documentation.

In contrast, since transitioning to digital reviews, 97% of Radian employees have clear objectives that they are actively striving to achieve. 3,722 1-on-1s having been conducted since March 2017 to make sure employees receive timely feedback to achieve their objectives.

That’s the impact of accurate and frequent feedback. The story of Radian is just one of many.

Adobe revealed last year that over 47% of employees seek new employment after receiving inaccurate performance review results.

All of this accounts for an average expenditure of $3,000 per U.S. employee during the performance reviews process (including employee time and technology), according to a Corporate Executive Board (CEB) survey of Fortune 1,000 companies.

That means companies are paying an arm and a leg for inaccurate and time-consuming performance reviews. So it’s tempting to feel like discarding the process altogether, but from my experience, this is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Generating an accurate performance review is needed to let people know where they stand. Not giving performance feedback to employees is not fair to them and very harmful. Sooner or later, their careers with being impacted by the level of their performance with either promotion if they are doing well, or termination if they are not. So by not giving accurate performance feedback to employees, you are harming their careers and leaving them in the dark.

With this in mind, the question that remains is: how do you give employees timely and unbiased performance feedback?

Often times, we tell our customers to start with 1-on-1 check-ins. These 1-on-1s can be weekly, bi-weekly, or at least monthly. And they don’t have to be difficult to coordinate. 1-on-1s can be scheduled automatically and kept short and on point, if you follow a set template. It’s also important for managers to work with employees to set clear objectives. Progress on these objectives can be discussed in 1-on-1 meetings, and if there are any roadblocks, the manager can help remove those.

1-on-1s check-ins are easy to roll out and the results are tremendous. They hit all of the pain points with traditional performance reviews: accuracy and frequency. And chances are, employees will remember what they did in any given week or month —eliminating recency bias.

Now you might be wondering, how are these helping companies conduct more accurate performance reviews?

Imagine conducting performance reviews at the end of the year after having collected and compiled performance data throughout the year. The data can come from all the 1-on-1 check-ins and from measuring the results of the objectives employees had committed to. This makes reviews substantially more accurate and fair to employees.

By emphasizing the importance of performance feedback throughout the year, growing companies are setting themselves up for success when it comes to saving time, talent and trust—all in time for annual performance reviews.

At 7Geese, we’re incredibly excited to make it easier than ever for companies to facilitate accurate performance reviews with automatically populated employee performance data from throughout the year. Our new Reviews feature compiles performance data from 1-on-1s check-ins, objectives results, and feedback that was collected throughout the quarter and the year. With accurate data automatically compiled, your review process is more effective and employees can be given the formal feedback they need to advance their careers. Everybody wins with our new Reviews feature and many of our beta users reported being very excited about the process and feeling in control of their careers!

To learn more or to get started, download our free guide to implementing a performance review process

Also published on Medium.


Amin Palizban is the founder and CEO of 7Geese. When not working, he loves reading, running, weight-training, and doing yoga.