Has the Time Come to Adjust the Employee Review Process?

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Recent findings from TriNet suggest that the new generation of workers isn’t happy with some traditional corporate procedures. Such is the case for the traditional review process many companies employ.

Although the report doesn’t mention it, it could be possible that this process deters many millennials from wanting to work with big institutionalized companies and, instead, drives them to create their startup or work as freelancers.

However, the last Social Conference we attended taught us that we can’t reach conclusions by generalizing and grouping professionals with their respective generations. And although they were brought up differently than previous generations, this doesn’t mean that changes should be based simply on these findings; however, the actual review process has been around for a long time and some changes might be needed to better adapt to today’s fast paced world.

This infographic sums up TriNet’s findings on the issue at hand.

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Press Release

A new survey released today by TriNet (NYSE: TNET), a leading provider of HR services, reveals the negative impacts of traditional performance reviews on working Millennials. While performance reviews are widely accepted, the survey confirms that companies need to radically change their process for sharing feedback in order to retain top talent and stay competitive in today’s job market, especially with the younger workforce.

As companies like Accenture, Adobe and Gap eliminate the traditional performance review, the process is increasingly coming under evaluation and more businesses need to take notice. A TriNet Perform study conducted by Wakefield Research in September 2015 surveyed 1,000 U.S full-time employees born after 1980 and found that Millennials are hit hard by infrequent feedback often inherent in traditional performance review processes. Specific findings include:

  • Negative impact on professional growth
    • 62 percent of Millennials have felt “blindsided” by a performance review.
    • 74 percent frequently feel “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing at work.
    • Nearly half (47 percent) feel that receiving a performance review makes them feel like they can’t do anything right.
  • Anxiety and mistrustInfrequent performance discussions can be overwhelming and cause employees not to trust the accuracy of the review.
    • Nearly one in four (22 percent) have called in sick because they were anxious about receiving their review.
    • More than half (59 percent) frequently feel their manager is unprepared to give feedback during performance reviews.
  • Poor company morale and talent retention more than half (57 percent) of Millennials have reacted to a performance review by:
    • 28 percent looked for a new job.
    • 35 percent complained to coworkers.
    • 15 percent have cursed.
    • and 15 percent have cried.

While 69 percent of Millennials, see their company’s review process as flawed, they also depend on it for their professional growth and development. As a better option, nearly nine out of 10 (85 percent) would feel more confident in their current position if they could have more frequent performance conversations with their manager. Updates employees would like to see include:

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  • More specific feedback, as 40 percent feel their current feedback is too vague.
  • An open dialogue, given that 32 percent dislike when reviews don’t allow employees to share thoughts on their own performance.
  • Regular, ongoing feedback, as 32 percent feel that reviews replace regular feedback.
  • Fair, unbiased feedback to mitigate against the 31 percent who feel their feedback is biased or unfair.

Supporting Quotes

Rob Hernandez, Product Manager, TriNet Perform

“Companies need to incent Millennials to step up and lead. We’ve seen innovation in so many other areas of business but our approach to performance reviews still needs to be overhauled. Done well, they optimize performance so that workers can grow into leaders. Done poorly, they can be the catalyst for good employees to leave.”

“A strong culture builds strong leaders and performance reviews reflect that culture. Technology can help by ensuring that regular real-time feedback translates into dynamic, transparent pathways for leadership development – without the paperwork. This frees managers to focus on growing their people and driving real improvement in employee productivity and engagement.”

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