Click to read Ceridian's article on performance development.Take the stress out of the review process with our tips on how to shift your approach to performance management. Uncover how your organization can create meaningful performance conversations that serve both the needs of the business and employees.  

3 Secrets to Revitalizing Your Performance Review Process

What words come to mind when you think of the annual performance review? If you’re like most people, the words stressful, tedious and ineffective may come to mind. The compliance-driven, antiquated nature of reviews has made this annual obligation a dreaded process for everyone – employees, managers and HR.

While the rest of HR’s processes have advanced with changing times and technology, the performance review has remained relatively the same. Historically, reviews have been approached from a top-down “performance management” perspective. Due to their focus on assessing rather than coaching employees, these conversations generally put everyone in a defensive posture.

“Traditional performance focuses on ‘checking the box’ rather than developing employees. This old review process just isn’t effective with today’s diverse workforce that expects a more well rounded approach to performance management,” said Lisa Sterling, vice president of Dayforce Talent Management at Ceridian.

So how can organizations create meaningful performance conversations that will serve both the needs of the business and employees?

Shifting the conversation from employee management to development

Only 10% of organizations believe that performance management is a good use of time.







Reframing your organization’s entire performance experience requires a shift away from assessments. Instead, the process should focus on coaching, supporting and developing employees. The secret to revitalizing the performance review process lies in: focusing on career goals, soliciting peer feedback and minimizing the focus on money.

Secret #1: Focus on career goals

To truly be effective, performance conversations should focus on the employee, not the organization. This can’t be done with cascading objectives, backward-looking assessments and once-a-year reviews.

Instead, managers should facilitate career conversations that concentrate on career questions like:

  • What skill or expertise is the employee most interested in developing?
  • What do they want to be doing in two years?

Based on the employee’s answers, managers should then create an 18-24 month development plan that connects the employee’s goals to the organization’s broader, strategic initiatives. Also, it should be clear to the employee how the organization will help them advance their career in return for their efforts and achievements.

Once a career plan is developed, managers should have regular, ongoing conversations to discuss progress, challenges and refine the plan accordingly. These conversations will help employees better align their efforts to strategic organizational initiatives (which change frequently) and lead to better business outcomes.

Secret #2: Incorporate peer feedback

Employees work in more team-based environments than ever before. Receiving immediate, continuous feedback from an employee’s peers and project leaders gives managers a more complete picture of their performance.

The benefits of peer reviews are clear: They reduce bias and increase fairness, resulting in more accurate, reliable and credible performance feedback. Employees are also more likely to take peer feedback to heart, especially if more than one person identifies similar improvement areas. In addition to helping individual employees improve, the more reflective, personal nature of peer reviews helps create higher-functioning work teams.

To facilitate a successful peer review process, educate employees on how to give and accept constructive feedback. Also, be sure that the feedback is aggregated and anonymous to all parties.

Secret #3: Take money off the table

Many organizations use the performance experience to provide justification of annual salary increases. In today’s world, most salary increases barely stay in line with the rate of inflation. By tying pay to performance, leaders essentially demotivate employees, which in turn drives down their performance. If your organization can’t incent performance effectively through salaries, it’s time to identify other ways for employees to earn performance-based compensation that will drive the desired behavior.

Commit to growth – theirs and yours

Truly effective performance development facilitates honest and open conversations between managers and employees. A shift from simply assessing employee performance to supporting it – finding ways to help each individual employee constantly improve – can make a big different in employees’ engagement. And don’t forget to share and celebrate the wins, no matter how small. In the workplace and elsewhere, positive reinforcement will always be one of your greatest keys to success.

For more information:

  • Read the article Is Your Organization Fumbling Performance Management?
  • Download the infographic DNA of an Engaged Employee
  • Learn about Dayforce Performance Management