Catchy Names Won’t Fix The Performance Review Pandemic

If there’s one thing that many of us in the HR space are getting tired of, it is the painfully egregious articles that insinuate performance reviews are dead. Performance reviews are not only alive and well, they are evolving, adapting, and delivering value to companies who stop abusing and misusing them – and start leveraging their core purpose. That purpose is ultimately to check in on performance.

What should be dead, however, is the poor implementation and misuse of annual reviews. A performance review can have an immense impact on an employee’s compensation, on their personal and professional development, and their relationship with their team and with the company as a whole. It’s a powerful tool that should be used for a greater good. 

Anne Fisher’s recent article in Forbes discusses how Adobe benefitted from ditching the annual review and replacing it with “check ins” or discussions on “how things are going”. The check ins are every 2 months, or more often. That’s actually fantastic, Adobe. We talked about bridging the gap between reviews as one of the necessities in today’s corporate culture in a previous blog. Kudos to Adobe for encouraging the conversation about performance more frequently. The more touchpoints there are, the less anxiety you build up about performance throughout the year.

Fisher also pointed out that Adobe follows up the year of regular check ins with an “annual rewards check in”, which is an opportunity for managers to “give out raises and bonuses according to how well each employee has met or exceeded his or her targets.”.

Wait, what?! An “annual check in?” A check in that ties compensation to performance? Isn’t that an annual performance review, but with less scary and ominous words in the title? Really?! 

Just because you dress up a review with fancy words like check in, doesn’t mean it’s not a review. Adobe took a fantastic step forward by adding value to the performance review with regular check ins throughout the year. These touchpoints keep performance topics current. Maybe rebranding the review to be called “check ins” helps sell it to managers and employees as a fresh way of looking at performance management, but the two things are kind of the same exact thing.

So if not the annual review, then what had caused Adobe to experience retention issues?

I think Anne spells it out beautifully in saying “the company’s ‘rank and yank’ system, which forced managers to identify and fire their least productive team members, caused so much infighting and resentment that, each year, it was making some of the software maker’s best people flee to competitors.”

I’m no expert but if you bring a fight club mentality into your workforce, and veil it behind a performance review, bad things will happen – bad things like attrition.

A properly developed and implemented performance review can have an immense impact on an individual employee, workforce morale, retention, productivity, etc.  But if you’re promoting a sink or swim culture, your talent, even some of your top talent, might leave or get so distracted by how they are judged in performance that they will ultimately sink.

But if you’re in a culture that promotes engagement about performance regularly, throughout the year, in a positive and proactive way, then people will feel more confident about their job, appreciate the transparent relationships with their managers and mentors, and ultimately perform beyond your expectations. Adobe did just that by reinventing their performance review process and focusing on the positives like rewards and bonuses instead of the negatives - like termination.

Stop blaming the performance review itself. Instead, lay the blame on how it’s implemented and viewed within your organization. Take a page out of Adobe’s playbook and leverage your performance review for good, not evil.

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Publish under: Performance appraisal, Perform, Goals, Performance management, Employee Satisfaction

The One Barrier to Employee Satisfaction You Are Probably Overlooking

A New TriNet Survey Outlines How Your Expense Reporting Process May be Hurting Your Retention

If you’re like most businesses on the fast-track to success, you care deeply about your employees and understand the importance of providing healthcare benefits and wellness programs, offering competitive pay and creating mentorship opportunities to aid in their professional development.

According to a new TriNet survey, however, there is an additional area where you may not be doing your best to retain quality, long-term employees: expense reporting.

Throughout May and June, Wakefield Research ran a survey of 1,000 business travelers age 23 and older for TriNet. The results show that, when it comes to employee job satisfaction, expense reporting is no trivial matter. Unfortunately, many things about your business’s expense reporting tactics could be costing you – in time, money and your most highly valued employees.

Your expense reporting process may be driving your employees away
The TriNet Expense Survey found that 71 percent of respondents actually said they would look for a new job if their employer were constantly late in reimbursing their business expenses. This number becomes less surprising, however, when you consider the other burdens employees face when it comes to submitting expense reports.

Personal out-of-pocket costs can be staggering
With the longest average wait time for reimbursement taking five weeks (exceeding the typical credit card billing cycle of 30 days) and the largest reimbursable expense averaging more than $2,600 (nearly triple the median monthly cost of housing in the U.S.) it’s no wonder that three out of five business travelers have had problems paying a personal bill because they were waiting for an expense reimbursement from their employer.

Most people already know that lending money to friends and family can negatively impact your relationship. Yet, these same people are continuously asked to float loans to their employer – at the expense of their own personal financial security. If this situation can drive a wedge through friends, imagine what it can do to the employer/employee relationship.

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Publish under: Expense management, Expense, Expense reporting, Expense Approvals, Expense Policy Enforcement, expense reimbursement, Employee Satisfaction

Bridging the Gaps in Performance Management

In theory, performance management has a simple yet noble mandate: to track and review employee performance and productivity.

A productive workforce is a happy one. One that has great retention and low turnover. One that encourages employees to succeed rather than admonish them for failing. It’s positive, collaborative and celebrates winning.

A productive workforce gets stuff done. It marches in synch with company initiatives, each employee contributing to the overall goals of the team. It’s clear, efficient, accomplishes its objectives in a timely manner, and wins deals.

When the conversation turns towards performance management a lot of people cringe. Somehow, this noble endeavor has become counter to its goals. Let’s face it, managing reviews and goals is painful. 

  •  Painfully anxious for the meticulous employee because his “quick and dirty” style manager may not appreciate the careful methodical approach and score him low on performance: “He is not meeting my expectations”.
  • Painfully confusing for the manager who reviews his team members performance based on abstract competencies like: “Is this person loyal to your company?” Well, I think he is.
  •  Painfully difficult for a busy manager to review and compare performance from 2 weeks ago against performance from 11 months ago. Is it even fair, given the changing environment of a small business pivoting, growing, changing?
  •  Painfully tiring for admins to chase down overdue reviews, send incomplete reviews back and encourage all employees to complete their goals on time.
  •  Painfully time-consuming for admins to read through 360 and self-reviews and censor all those naughty words and educate the workforce to provide positive and constructive feedback.

It’s tough to encourage a happy and productive workforce given how painful performance management has become. The bottom line is that performance management is marred by a widening gap between managers’ and employees’ workplace issues. This gap is obvious in how often we have a review, and how often we talk about goals. Once a year is just not often enough. 

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Publish under: Performance appraisal, Perform, Goals, Performance management

Align Performance Appraisals & Business Goals: Introducing Cascading Goals

TriNet Perform is excited to announce a number of new features, including the addition of Cascading Goals. Cascading goals is the process of adopting goals at different levels within a company to ensure alignment between the organization's objectives, and employees' activities and goals.

Cascading business goals link business objectives and performance measures to individual employee performance appraisal targets, making a performance review more productive. Cascading business goals shares with employees:

  • How the organization measures success.
  • The specific value they add to the organization.
  • The specific impact of both good and poor performance on a team, program, and entire organization.

When an organizational objective is created, the objective is translated into individual goals. These individual goals are cascaded down the organizational chart from the CEO down throughout departmental heads, line managers and frontline employees.

"It’s not easy to align your workforce with high-level company goals. Have a clearly defined goal at the executive level and make sure you cascade it appropriately. Goals will become more granular as you cascade down, but your junior employees need to know the ultimate company goals. If your employees don’t know what you want, how can they know what they need to do to grow and develop within the company?"

-Lynne Vu, Principal Human Capital Consultant, TriNet


We’ve also improved Goal Filtering and Weights. Goals now include new preset filters that group the goals by team members, by goal categories, and by chronological order. Managers will find it easier to stay on top of team member’s goals and the top tier will be able to get a better picture of overall progress. New preset filters that group the goals by team members, by goal categories, and by chronological order will make it easier to stay on top of team member’s goals and the top tier will be able to get a better picture of overall progress.

Interested in learning more? Get started Creating Cascading Goals today.

Not using TriNet Perform yet?

Get Started!

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Publish under: Performance appraisal, Perform, Goals, Cascading goals, Performance management

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TriNet Cloud is a suite of powerful yet easy to use cloud applications designed to enable companies to manage employees and increase efficiencies —from seamless expense reporting, to tracking employee performance.

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