Alternatives to the Big Annual Review

Annual performance reviews have gotten a bad rap for one reason or another, yet companies continue to do them.  They feel trapped, thinking its necessary, and because they don’t realize alternatives exist.  Fortunately some really good options do exist.  Lets start with my favorite.

TouchBase by Rypple – This comes from a Toronto-based company that is all about making feedback really simple and fluid in the workplace.  They took their Rypple feedback tool, applied the redeeming values of ‘performance reviews’ and created TouchBase.  Its basically a one page worksheet a manager and employee spend 15 minutes filling in with 2-3 short-term tactical goals.  Then the employee works towards its completion, and of course uses Rypple to solicit feedback from their peers.  Then at set intervals, which might be weekly, monthly or quarterly, they discuss results and set new tactical goals for the period.

This way everyone has a nice database essentially of a person’s achievements throughout the year.  Then you can just review the TouchBase worksheets for a year, and cut your annual ‘discussion’ down to 10 minutes.

Quarterly chats – The worst mistake a manager can make it not providing negative or positive feedback to employees throughout the year.  Though I certainly recommend sharing your feedback right away, having a brief 15-30 minute conversation on a quarterly basis is a good way to provide timely feedback and have more meaningful conversation.  This idea has also been called the ‘puppy theory.’

Break it down to a 1-page form of the essentials – There is nothing worse (for everyone involved really), than filling out pages and pages of questions, goal statements, and scores for how well you applied the company mission statement to your work.  Ick!  Decide what is really important to your company and focus on those key elements and how they play into each employee’s role.  “Keep it real” and genuine and the process will be a positive experience for all.

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