What Is a Real-Time Review?
Performance reviews get their share of bad press. There are lots of reasons that more and more organizations are transitioning away from the traditional model of annual performance reviews.
Firstly, with a workplace that is ever-changing, an annual review is likely to occur long after many projects have ended. As such, if managers postpone feedback until the review, by that time, it may seem outdated and could even be frustrating to bring it up at such a late date. It also means that employees may be losing out on the opportunity to get feedback more quickly, as they progress with their work, in time to make changes and improvements as they go.
That’s where real-time reviews come in. As the name implies, a “real-time review” (also known as “real-time feedback”) is a process in which the supervisor and employee either ditch the annual performance review altogether and implement more continuous feedback or augment the annual performance review process with more frequent “real time” check-ins.
Even if the new process is not truly “real time” and instead simply a more frequent version of the old performance review process, such as monthly, recent studies are showing that employees are preferring it.
Benefits of Moving Toward Real-Time Feedback
Here are some of the benefits of moving to a more frequent feedback process:
- Employees prefer it to annual reviews.
- It gives the employees more frequent input on how they’re doing with ongoing work, which can allow time for both employee recognition and course-correction when needed.
- Managers can use these feedback sessions to give more input on how the performance needs to be changed to keep the project on track. (Changes may be needed for reasons entirely unrelated to employee performance, and that can be addressed during these sessions, as well.)
- Employees have a more formal opportunity to share their frustrations, so managers can address issues sooner.
- Employees may feel more open than they would during formal annual reviews, allowing more issues to come to light.
- Having more frequent check-ins reduces the chance that an important issue will be ignored because it’s not close to review time. It also minimizes the chance that the issue will no longer be relevant by the time feedback is given.
- Positive employee recognition can be given during these types of reviews, which can improve employee satisfaction and engagement.
- More frequent reviews actually may reduce the likelihood that performance reviews will get continually rescheduled because they become part of the normal daily/weekly/monthly activities. It’s also easier to schedule them because they’re much shorter and there’s less to cover—so less prep time is required. If they do get rescheduled, they still occur more frequently than before—reducing the chances of missing out.
- It’s less likely that any feedback gets skipped due to too long of time passing or due to forgetting the details.
- Managers can focus on future needs rather than dwelling on past problems. This allows managers to take on more of a leading role during the meeting rather than a disciplinarian role, making the meetings something to look forward to rather than dread.
- Frequent check-ins can be a way to learn where there are skills gaps in time to actually get training in place, which will help employees meet their goals.
- Higher frequency improves the accuracy of the feedback because it’s timely and there’s less time for inadvertent biases to cloud the input.
- Employees can be happy their feedback gets a chance to be heard and acted upon more often.
Overall, real-time feedback addresses several of the shortcomings of annual reviews. Is your organization moving toward more frequent reviews? Have you found it improves performance better than annual reviews?
*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.
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