What Is Replacing Traditional Performance Reviews?

As many as eight in 10 companies, including button-down bluebloods such as General Electric and Goldman Sachs, are overhauling or planning to overhaul their performance review process, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

A widely recognized problem with annual performance reviews is that, in today’s rapidly changing business world, much of the information presented in annual or even semiannual reviews is outdated and obsolete. Managers and employees find themselves assessing projects that were completed months earlier or discussing strategic changes that have long since been implemented.

A shift to assessing workers’ performance in real time is underway. “Performance is an ongoing activity, it’s every day,” says Pierre Naterme, CEO of Accenture, one company that is reshaping its employee performance review policies. “What people want to know is, ‘on an ongoing basis am I doing right?’ ‘Am I moving in the right direction?’”

What Others Are Doing

Laura Garnett, a performance strategist and contributor to Forbes.com, recently asked leaders from some forward-thinking companies what their thoughts are on the future of measuring performance at work.

Michael Ross, chief human resource officer of Visa, says his company is focusing on driving more effective conversations between managers and their employees. To support the managers who are being asked to implement new performance management programs, Visa is providing e-learning and simulated solutions on providing feedback, setting goals, coaching and unconscious bias.

Visa also is enhancing its reward and recognition through its Go Beyond program. Employees are encouraged to publicly recognize colleagues using online social tools.

Scott Day of OpenTable says a noticeable trend at the online restaurant reservation service provider is more frequent check-ins and two-way dialogue between managers and employees, again making use of technology that makes this more possible.

“The benefit here is a greater sense of accountability for individual performance – the process is no longer about something being ‘done to them,’” says Day.

What changes are happening at your company in the area of performance management?