Performance evaluations are (for some) an annual organizational requirement that many companies partake in. Some conduct annual performance reviews, conducting all evaluations for all employees at the same time each year. Some conduct performance evaluations at the anniversary date of each employee. A more increasing trend is conducting performance reviews on an as-needed basis, taking a more informal approach to the process. 

In a recent article, we discussed the mid-year review, an opportunity to sit down with your employees to reevaluate personal and professional goals and objectives. Also a component of formal performance evaluations, this informal review consists of many of the same elements of formal reviews, and share many of the same desired outcomes.

There are pros and cons to each type of review system. An informal review allows the manager and employee more of an opportunity to speak honestly and sincerely about goals and professional development, whereas formal reviews can often result in a less genuine meeting which has a focus on “checking the boxes” and looking at numbers.

Formal appraisals typically focus on long-term goals where as informal evaluations focus on short-term objectives and tasks or projects. Formal reviews are less frequent and informal conversations give immediate feedback. Numbers and ranking as part of a formal review can be beneficial if performance evaluations tie into raises and bonuses, but can be ineffective if pay and performance are in no way correlated.

Different generations in the workforce is another factor to consider when implementing and administering performance evaluations. Where Generations Y and Millennials would benefit from a more informal meeting that would be more conversational and create less stress for that group, the Baby Boomer generation would appreciate the more linear method of raking and the routine formal performance evaluations bring.

Continue reading next week to learn what components of a performance review should be included in any evaluation, both formal and informal.