Re-thinking Performance Reviews


It’s that time of year: the dreaded yearly performance review. When managers struggle to think of things to talk about with the team members that report to them…and team members need to come up with things to justify a bonus or pay increase. There is a better way!


This article discusses 3 best practices in reinventing the traditional performance review:


  1. Set clear, measurable, and attainable goals. SMART goals, if you will. It’s recommended that goals are not just dictated by management but are set with input from the employee.
  2. Provide continuous feedback. Not just at the end of the year in an annual review. Adopt a culture of ongoing feedback year-round.
  3. Think of the annual review more as a career-planning meeting. In this climate where companies are struggling to keep top talent, it’s important for management to understand where the employee wants to go in the company. The employee needs to understand what skills or training will be necessary to get them there.

A well-designed incentive, reward, and recognition program encompasses all 3 of these best practices and provides additional benefits as well. On every list of attracting, motivating, and retaining key talent is recognizing and rewarding achievement. A thoughtful performance improvement strategy ensures that employees understand what is expected of them and rewards them for meeting and exceeding those expectations.


There are defined steps to designing an effective employee reward program, starting with setting appropriate goals with input from management and employees that are aligned with company goals and initiatives, then identifying the employee audience that can best impact those goals. A properly designed program includes mechanisms for continuous feedback and the ability to adjust to a changing environment. An experienced professional can guide you through these steps to ensure that you’ve chosen the right program structure for your needs, can help you develop a budget, and choose effective rewards that will appeal to your particular audience.


A thoughtfully designed employee incentive, reward, recognition, or performance improvement program is an effective year-round alternative to the annual performance review. Managers and employees can monitor their progress toward goals in real-time, understanding exactly what is necessary to achieve the goal or get to the next level, with a clear understanding of the reward they can expect once that goal is reached.


To get started putting your effective employee program in place, contact one of our experienced Incentive Professionals today!



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