Category Archives: Performance Feedback

From the Archives: Stick a Fork in Annual Performance Review Systems

While I’m traveling, I thought I’d re-post one of the most popular Data Point Tuesday posts from 2012.  Enjoy.

Today’s data points come from two recent surveys:  one from Achievers and one from Cornerstone OnDemand.  Both surveys show clearly that annual performance review systems’ time has come.  It’s over.  Time to stick a fork in them.

Well, it’s time to stick a fork in them if you’re interested in providing the kind of feedback to your employees that is focused on growing their skills, binding them closer to the organization and engaging their full and discretionary energy.

Let’s look first at the Achievers data.  As part of a survey fielded in April of this year, employees were asked how frequently they would like to receive feedback from their managers.  HR professionals and CEOs were asked how frequently they thought employees in their organizations would like to receive feedback from their managers.  Do the answers surprise you?

No surprise that employees would like to receive feedback immediately or on the spot – or at least weekly.  Maybe a bit of a surprise that both HR professionals and CEOs know this.  Here’s the question, though:  if employees, HR professionals and CEOs all know that employees don’t want feedback in an annual context, then why are the majority of performance feedback systems in use today based on an annual model?

Making matters worse, Cornerstone OnDemand published survey results from late 2011 with related findings:

  • only 37% of employees report that they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager/employer in the performance review process
  • Only 32% said that their performance goals are aligned with their company’s business objectives
  • Only 20% have established career goals with their manager/employer

So.  Annual feedback systems satisfy no one from a frequency perspective.  And feedback systems in general are not providing useful feedback for employee skill growth or engagement – or in line with business objectives.

At this point you could say, “Yikes!” and start moaning.

Or, you could say, “This looks like an opportunity for HR to make a significant contribution to the success of the business!” and start collecting similar data from your organization to identify whether this opportunity is real.  If it is real, I see the building of a compelling business case in your future – just in time for the FY2013 budget planning process.

And a new more powerful way to engage employees and manage performance in your organization could be right around the corner.

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Filed under Achievers, Annual Performance Reviews, Business Case, Business Success, China Gorman, Cornerstone OnDemand, Engagement, HR Data, Performance Feedback

Best-in-Class Engagement Metrics

The Aberdeen Group just published a fascinating report, The Rules of Employee Engagement:  Communicating, Collaborating and Aligning with the Business, that looks at what best-in-class organizations are doing about engagement and why they’re doing it.  Author Madeline Laurano takes a pretty deep dive into the subject and her analysis reveals some pretty intriguing conclusions.  What hooked me from the start were the three metrics for performance criteria to distinguish best-in-class companies for employee engagement:

  • 71% of employees exceeded performance expectations, compared to 14% of Laggard organizations
  • 85% of 1st choice candidates accepted an offer, compared to 8% of Laggards
  • 72% of employees rated themselves highly engaged, compared to 9% of employees of Laggard organizations

Most of the statistics we see about the value of engagement focus on tying engagement scores to financial outcomes.  No question:  we need that.  Data about the outcomes of engagement are helpful in building business cases for investing in the employee experience.

But tying other types of outcomes to higher engagement scores can also be helpful – like the number of 1st choice candidates accepting employment offers.  If a talent shortage truly is the number 1 concern of CEOs and their boards around the world, as the latest Lloyd’s Risk Survey suggests, then strategies that effectively raise the likelihood of securing the top talent you go after should be of interest. And it makes sense that A+ talent likes to affiliate with other A+ talent.

And connecting the dots between engagement outcomes and high levels of individual employee performance also makes sense.  I’ve long wondered at the value of trumpeting the engagement scores of every employee — when we all know that it’s the most effective employees’ opinions we care most about.  Linking employee performance and engagement scores makes a great deal of sense to me.

Take a look at the report.  I think you’ll find the data extremely useful.

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Filed under Business Case, Business Success, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Economist Intelligence Unit, Engagement, HR, HR Data, Lloyd's, Performance Feedback