Most Australian managers want to abandon annual performance reviews

By Wedaeli Chibelushi

67 percent of Australian managers want to ditch the annual performance review in favour of ongoing feedback, according to a survey by recruiting firm Hays.

Only one-third of the 1,352 managers surveyed preferred annual reviews. Most said regular talks, preferably monthly, between employees and managers, are more constructive. These can then be followed up with a more formal KPI discussion, an annual salary review and career planning session.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand said: “Most respondents agreed that some form of annual feedback is still important in order to celebrate the year’s successes, but that other more regular feedback must be provided too so that areas for improvement are addressed as they arise.

“This allows an employee and employer to change behaviour before it becomes embedded. Performance and productivity improve because feedback isn’t held off for the annual review, and managers spend less time managing issues that could have been avoided.”

Regardless of the feedback process used, Deligiannis feels it’s critical that it is transparent, credible and consistent for all staff. He also said staff must have a voice in the process.

One survey respondent said: “We’ve abandoned annual reviews as feedback should be ongoing throughout the year. We're not abandoning the focus on performance, just how it is managed and discussed with employees. By making it more timely and ongoing we see performance improvements throughout the year.”

“If someone told me I’d performed one thing wrong eight months ago, it (the feedback) wouldn’t be effective and would actually discourage me because it took so long to feed that back,” another manager said.

However, ditching a formal feedback process altogether is not an option. Most employers say without it, employee performance would decline, their feelings of ownership and accountability would fall, and they’d be given the impression no one cares.


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