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Not performing - time to axe the performance review?

Performance reviews can be a time of high anxiety,

not only for the subject of the review, but for the assessor as well. They are often executed poorly and are a wasted opportunity to achieve what should be their primary aim: to improve performance.

So much so, that some firms have axed the performance review.

Global software company Atlassian held reviews twice a year until eighteen months ago, after finding that demotivation, anxiety and wasted time were commonplace.

Under the new system, staff and managers now meet eight times a year for "lightweight feedback" conversations, which include coaching conversations, 360-degree feedback, bottom-up reviews of managers by staff, and "snappy biannual check-ins".

Whether one retains the performance review or not, most experts agree that a single yearly performance review is not enough.

Regular and pro-active feedback is one of the benchmarks of sound performance management. Regular reviews are more likely to improve morale and productivity, and are less likely to be dominated by discussion of poor performance than the traditional yearly or twice-yearly review.

Another key aspect of successful performance management is making expectations clear from the get-go. This gives you the right to hold people accountable for what was originally agreed to.

Being specific is vital. Saying that ""you need to be more proactive" does not help an employee plan improvement whereas "you need to be more proactive about following up sales leads" does.

A career progression plan should also be discussed during a performance review and will help put an employee's tasks into perspective and improve retention.

Furthermore, honesty is the best policy – employees will never make necessary improvements without the truth.

IHR can assist in the professional development of your organization's employees. Specific tools include performance management coaching and training, performance appraisal systems training and management development.

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