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Annual Performance Reviews = A Dead Practice?

One HR question I have been hearing and reading about A LOT lately is whether the annual performance review is dead.  Many large companies – mostly on the U.S. Mainland – have publicly announced that they abandoned annual performance reviews and replacing them with some other feedback mechanism.  Whether this movement will catch on in Hawaii remains to be seen.


Recently, SHRM posted a very interesting article addressing this very topic and asked the question “Is the annual performance review dead?”  In the article, the author noted that we are “in the early stages of a revolution” and “HR leaders are realizing that they need continuous, real-time feedback and solutions.”  The article also cautioned that annual performance reviews can result in negative consequences, such as inciting antagonism, de-moralizing the workforce, creating an uncomfortable dynamic between managers and employees, and just simply taking up a lot of time.

The author also touched on another issue, albeit just slightly:  society is moving much faster nowadays.  One facet the article didn’t address with regards to societal impact on the workforce, however, is the composition of today’s workforce (i.e. Gen-Xers, Millenials, etc.)  Specifically, although the article discussed how more frequent manager-employee checkins, which could occur even as often as weekly, might be a preferred method of feedback, it did not mention why.  Could it be perhaps the annual review worked for the Baby Boomer generation, but does not for Millenials?

Also, in this day and age, instant gratification has become the norm.  With smart phones, the internet, YouTube, Netflix, and other similar technological advancements, waiting has become a thing of the past.  Perhaps waiting for a performance review will become a thing of the past too?

In any event, as the saying goes, the only constant is change.  With a changing way of doing business or, at least, a changing workforce, companies will need to be prepared to adapt to how they conduct performance reviews in a way that best suits their employees.

You can read a copy of the SHRM article on their website here:  Is the Annual Performance Review Dead?