Procrastination has been around since the start of modern civilization. Historical figures like Herodotus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and hundreds of others have talked about how procrastination is the enemy of results. One of my favorite quotes about procrastination is from Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today…….
Performance reviews are starting to evolve. The time-honored tradition of annually evaluating your employees in terms of productivity, improvement and goal achievement remains a touchstone for millions of businesses, but the way they’re adopting and executing these evaluations is being reformed, thanks to new trends and technologies dictating the new standard.
So how are performance reviews changing, and what should you be doing about it?
Why You Should Care About Performance Review Trends
If your business doesn’t currently offer a standard performance review, or if you feel satisfied with the process you already have, you may wonder why you should care about these developments.
But consider this:
- Performance reviews have a purpose. According to Emplo, the modern performance review “plays an integral role in the open line of communication between manager and employee, between feedback and silence. It is the chance to offer employees the acknowledgment that they’re looking for, to encourage them to strive for high levels of achievement, and to nip problems in the bud before they grow into thorny roses.”
- Tech makes things easier and cheaper. Technology makes almost everything easier, faster and less expensive; so why would performance reviews be any different? Incorporating the latest tech can make the process go smoother and cost less time and money.
- Employees expect modernity. If you don’t adopt the new standards for performance reviews, one of your competitors will. And because employees expect their employers to offer competitive performance reviews and benefits, you may appear inferior because of it.
Rejection of the Traditional Model
According to research by Kansas State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M University, pretty much everyone hates to receive negative feedback in the traditional context. Earning a numerical rating in each of several categories at the end of a performance period tends to fill people with resentment and frustration.
On top of that, most supervisors hate filling out the same, tired, formulaic templates for all their employee reviews. They see it as a waste of time, and are eager for a new model that allows them to do the work faster, and in a way that actually appeals to employees.
Project Management Software
Project management software platforms, once relegated to managing and organizing tasks, are now evolving to incorporate more metrics and insights to assist with employee evaluation. For example, Taskworld explains its new feature like this: “Whenever a task is completed, the assigner will have an option to give feedback to its assignees. This ensures that the receiver understands the context of the feedback. It also encourages your team members to give frequent feedback to each other.”
In addition, project management software gives supervisors a transparent, automated tool to evaluate individual employee performance, answering questions like “how many tasks has this person completed?” and “how does this person interact with others?”
Millennial Demands and Oversight
Millennials are also having an effect on how performance reviews are done. As employees, millennials crave feedback more than any other generation. They want their work to be acknowledged, and want to hear how they’re doing, so they can learn, adjust appropriately and continue advancing. This makes them feel more engaged with their work, so if they aren’t able to get it at one company, they may leave for a different opportunity.
Of course, these days, millennials are starting to step into more supervisory and managerial positions. So rather than asking their bosses for more performance reviews, they’re taking their pro-feedback stances and are using them to develop more intricate, engaging reviews for their subordinates.
Modern technology also affords supervisors ample opportunities to give real-time feedback to their employees. Rather than waiting until the end of the year, or even the end of a project, a quick chat over instant messenger or a concise email thread may be enough to proactively recognize a problem area and suggest a course to correct it. This agile mode of feedback allows for faster changes and more satisfied, informed employees throughout each project.
Is your business ready to keep pace with all these changes? You don’t need to mimic the approach of a different company, but you should at least learn from the new standards and expectations that are starting to develop, and revise your strategy accordingly. Better performance reviews can lead to higher morale, higher efficiency and overall, a better company in which to work.
It seems like employees are busier than ever before, indeed, a paper published last year argued that business was almost a form of status. A humblebrag that we’re so important we’re over-run with work.
Indeed, a Boston University study from a few years ago found that many of us are fond of exaggerating the number of hours we work. The research found that such boasting was particularly common among men, whose bold claims of doing 80 hour weeks are often enormous exaggerations, with the reality typically more akin to 50 or 60 hours.
Let’s assume that we are actually getting busier however, rather than making it up to puff ourselves up. What impact is this having on our productivity and creativity? That was the question posed by a recent study from Columbia Business School.
The research wanted to test the hypothesis that “if you want something done, give it to a busy person,” whilst exploring the impact business has on our motivation and productivity as individuals, and then collectively as an organization.
Finding the sweet spot
It perhaps stands to reason that there will be a sweet spot for most of us whereby we reach peak productivity and fill our day with useful work, but after which our productivity plummets as our workload swamps us. That isn’t really what the researchers found however, especially when productivity was viewed through the lens of things such as missing task deadlines.
“Busy people believe that they are masters of using their time efficiency, which in turn makes them feel like productive workers,” the authors explain. “But missing a deadline is a widely-accepted sign that one has failed to manage his time efficiently, and busy people feel the burden of this failure moreso than people who are not busy, which in turn leads them to complete the missed task quickly.”
This phenomenon doesn’t really materialize in people who aren’t busy, yet who also miss a deadline. For these employees, they still have a sense of failure, but they weren’t all that motivated to complete the task on time in the first place. As such, their motivation is largely unaffected (ie still at a low level).
Using time efficiently
Even if busy people miss a deadline however, they are still convinced that they’re using their time effectively. The sense of business can be used to over-ride the sense of failure they feel from missing their deadline.
“Employers hope that all workers – whether they feel busy or not – will take immediate action to address missed deadlines. And employers are likely to expect non-busy workers to complete tardy tasks more expeditiously than busy workers, simply on account of the fact that they have more free time. But our research shows that this is not the case, and that people who feel that they missed a deadline because they were so busy are more likely to complete a task as quickly as possible,” the researchers explain.
It underlines the risks inherent in overloading employees with too much work, but this should not only be regarded as a problem for productivity and engagement however, for overwork also inhibits the innovative capabilities of employees.
A recent study explored things from the other perspective, investigating how employees behave when they don’t have enough work to do, or are under-employed. As before, the research found that there is a sweet spot. If workers have insufficient work to do, they get bored and therefore not creative, whereas if they have too much to do, they lack the free time to realize their innovative potential. Instead, there was a sweet spot whereby they felt sufficiently valued by their employer to be engaged effectively, yet had enough free time to create.
The secret for managers therefore, seems to be helping your employees find that sweet spot.For more, visit adigaskell.org.