Why Staff Reviews Fail

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Why Staff Reviews Fail

Staff Reviews


It is widely accepted in modern management thinking that people are the most important component in any business, so why are they only given a staff reviews once a year?  To grow any business you must first grow the people in the business.

Surely the most important component in any business, namely people, deserve more of our time than one hour every twelve months? The interesting thing here, is the response I have noticed this line of thinking gets from people.  There are usually three common responses when we raise the subject of Staff Performance Reviews as follows:

1) The Staff Response

Your people would love to have a performance review more often and there are two main reasons for this, which are, a) they have never been told a Performance Review does not equal a pay rise and b) human beings all want to be the best they can.  No one wants to do a bad job, it’s just that life, circumstances, people, technology and stuff gets in the way.  Furthermore a Performance Review is a chance to talk to their boss about promotion, a conversation that is usually avoided by Managers if they have non formal strategy of dealing with this.  A Performance Review is therefore an opportunity for your people to grow and develop.

2) The Management Response

“We talk to our people every day and they really don’t need any more than an annual review.”  This is the stock response of managers who are busy and have not been trained in the ABC’s of people management – Always Be Coaching.  Needless to say these conversations have little structure and few documented behavioral changes that can be followed up on.

3) The Legacy Response

“Our existing review process is so time consuming and unproductive, I fail to see any benefit in conducting more reviews.”   Perhaps then it’s time to give your review process itself a review so that they do become productive.


Managers who push back against reviews in general, never mind more frequent reviews, typically do so because they have not been trained to carry out staff reviews, and are therefore uncomfortable carrying them out.  The biggest asset any organization has is it’s people, so surely it just doesn’t make sense to only review their performance every 12 months.  Surely given the high proportion of bad hires and the inherent cost in a new employee who does not work out, more frequent reviews might be worth exploring.  Staff Staff Performance Reviewsdo take up Management time however they are essential if you want to keep your workforce engaged, growing and delivering value to the business.