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Reviews: Check the Box or Meaningful?

As a Human Resources professional, I have seen countless review forms in my career. Some good, some bad. Regardless, are they helpful?

Some organizations have a culture that promotes reviews as a “check the box” to stop the HR person from hassling them over turning in their reviews. I worked at one organization where I later found out several employees never even saw their reviews. The manager submitted them without employees’ knowledge or input. In these cases, reviews are not helpful.

So, when is a review helpful? Answer (or at least my answer!): When it is used to formally document what has transpired during the past year and gives an opportunity to have a discussion about future growth and opportunities. It opens up dialogue between a manager and an employee that may not otherwise have taken place.

It sounds simple. So why is it so hard? Sometimes, reviews prompt challenging conversations between manager and employee – initiated by either party. Conflict is tough, so when review time comes along, people feel anxious. Or, for some, a review isn’t a review- it’s a surprise. Each year, they have no idea what will be documented.

In a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), reviews have a positive purpose. The review takes place throughout the year informally. Because ROWE cultures focus so clearly on results, the conversations about results and focusing on the right and best things for an organization take place frequently. Some of our clients document these informal conversations throughout the year in a word doc, in a spreadsheet, or they use WorkSimple (getworksimple.com). When the annual review comes along to make sure things are formally documented, we hear from ROWE organizations that the conversations are brief and there are no surprises.

What do reviews look like in your organization? What do reviews look like for government? Are they met with anxiety? Or are they just a simple review because the dialogue is proactive throughout the year? Are people held accountable to specific results? Are they a “check the box” activity?

Thinking about the perception of reviews in your organization will give you significant insight into your culture and will help identify areas that are functioning well and others that need improvement.

Want to continue this conversation? Tune into Results-Only Radio on Tuesday March 27th at 12:00 p.m. CST where the topic is How to Conduct Reviews in a ROWE. Gain access to Results-Only Radio through this link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/culturerx

To learn more about Results-Only Work Environment, visit gorowe.com

Stacey Swanson can be followed on Twitter @StaceyMSwanson

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I like the way we did it this past year. Every employee received a 360 review from 3-4 people. That feedback was shared with the employee by the manager in a one-to-one discussion. The employee had a chance to get clarification and offer their own self-assessment. In addition, every employee has clear goals for the year.

As an aside, we’ve also scheduled every other month checkpoints to see how the employee is progressing toward his/her goals. Seems to be a good process so far.

Terrence (Terry) Hill

I’ve become a real fan of Rypple or WorkSimple. Now, if I can just convince my organization of the values of social goals, continuous feedback, and collaboration between peers that is inherent in these social networks that are designed to improve performance at work! We need to stop redesigning the form and harness the power of social networks to manage performance. We need to reengineer the process, including the who, when, why, and where of performance management.

Stacey Swanson

Terry- I think we need to bring ROWE to your organization and incorporate WorkSimple at the same time! Let me know when you are ready to have that convo! 🙂