Develop Better Talent with Reverse Performance Reviews

Employee performance evaluations are quickly becoming a relic of the past. Studies show that annual reviews are inefficient, ineffective and don’t lead to employee growth. And, let’s face it, nobody—managers or talent—likes to do them.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to improve employee productivity and satisfaction within your company. It’s called reverse performance reviews.

Reverse performance reviews turn the tables on regular performance reviews. Instead of your company reviewing an employee, your employees review your company.

Why do reverse performance reviews? Here are a few of the benefits:

1. Fix the System

Many problems with employee performance are directly connected to problems with your culture, processes or management.

Instead of reviewing individual employees and asking them to change, reverse performance reviews take a step back to evaluate the world in which they work.

Fix problems with that world, and your employees’ performance will naturally improve.

2. Reveal Patterns

A company evaluation will generate lots of data from your entire staff. When you look at it in total, this data will reveal patterns of dysfunction and systemic issues that need to be addressed.

Alternately, it will reveal positive patterns and things that you’re doing really well… and should continue to do.

3. Measure Your Success

All of this data gives you a baseline against which to measure your company in the future. If all of your employees complain about a particular process, and you change that process, you’ll see measurable improvement in next year’s reviews.

4. Everyone Benefits

As the old saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Fixing company-wide issues makes things better for everyone, instead of singling out one employee and trying to make them change.

5. Employees Need to Vent

All employees need an outlet for expressing concern—or satisfaction—with your company.

Not only that, they need to feel that their concerns will be heard and addressed. If you’re going to implement a company evaluation, make sure that addressing employees’ issues is a regular part of the process.

6. Establish Priorities

A company review provides clear priorities for upper management, showing them what employees really want and how the company can help them work better. When you know what the problems are, it’s easier to take action.

7. Improved Employer Branding

Your reputation as a place to work will improve when your employees feel valued, listened to, and that their opinions matter.

This reputation will spread to job seekers, who are more likely to apply for your open positions if they think you’re a great place to work. Happier employees and better applicants? It’s a true win-win.

So, what do you do if you want to create your own reverse performance reviews?

It’s easy to set up an online survey where your staff can answer questions and share their opinions. It should be done in a completely anonymous way so they can feel free to say what they really think. Also, set aside a generous chunk of time during the workday when everyone can focus on completing the review without worrying about their other tasks.

Include open-ended questions and prompts like:

  • What’s the best part about working here?
  • What’s the most challenging part about working here?
  • How would you describe our company culture?
  • How would you rate our processes and systems?
  • How can we change to help make your job easier?
  • Is there anything standing in the way of you doing your best work?
  • What can our company do to improve?

In addition to these essay-style questions, you can have employees rank statements about your company on a scale of 1-5. For example, on a scale of 1 (not at all true) to 5 (very true), rate these statements:

  • I have everything I need to do my job
  • My manager provides the support and guidance I need
  • My colleagues and co-workers make my job easier
  • Our company culture shows respect for women
  • Our company culture shows respect for all races and ethnicities
  • My projects have adequate budget and monetary support
  • My ideas are valued and appreciated
  • I believe there is room for growth for me here
  • Our weekly staff meetings are helpful and informative

You can probably think of 100 more questions to ask—these are just a few to get you started.

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