Annual Performance Reviews…Still Serving Two Masters?

TalentFirst had a great chat this week with WilliamTincup, the President of, and one of the most experienced advisers in the HR Tech space.

We were discussing the evolution of annual performance reviews, and the reality that many companies readily admit today: The original system of annual performance reviews was designed, as William put it, “to serve two masters, which never works.”

William’s comments relate to what’s historically been so challenging around the dreaded annual performance review.  Namely, that neither employee nor manager really know whether the ultimate goal of the review is to nurture an employee’s career, or simply a necessary manager due diligence function, dictated by HR and carried out – often grudgingly – by managers.  Much of what creates this inherent “master conflict” in the annual performance review stems from a lack of data and ongoing feedback to fuel a more transparent and mutually beneficial conversation.

Thankfully, technology has now enabled a different performance review experience in organizations ready to transform their performance culture. Tools available today can transform performance management into true “performance enablement”.  This is a collaborative and empowered engagement experience that happens daily, weekly, monthly – and coalesces into a mutually insightful performance discussion at the end of the year. 

The benefits of technology-enabled performance engagement are clear, as evidence by Gallup’s recent employee engagement study citing the importance of feedback, coaching and recognition to drive employee buy-in and business results.  So instead of a process that serves two masters poorly, modern performance management is evolving into a more “masterful” process that leverages technology to create measurable performance growth for both employees and organizations alike.

By breaking down the annual performance review process into daily digital micro conversations, managers and employees modernize the entire talent management process with consistency, timely and honest feedback, and the ability to aggregate that information to drive meaningful performance improvements that put talent first. Best-in-class organizations know that their people are there most valuable competitive advantage, and the leaders today realize they have a responsibility to learn about these technologies to transform their performance culture, one employee at a time.

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