Best practices need to evolve along with the world of work. As the HR role continues to take on new responsibilities that shape its position, performance reviews will play a larger part in the task list. To be agile is to apply fresh approaches to traditional practices that allow HR professionals to grow their people, so we can’t help but ask – aren’t current performance reviews as we know them dead? 

Workplace shifts have made the current review process semi-obsolete; not in implementation, but in content and focus. New generations require transparency, check-ins should be made a priority, and employees need to be seen as people instead of numbers. What changes need to be made to performance reviews that modernize them altogether? 

#1: They need to be more feedback-focused 

Millennials are poised to take over the workforce and to them, top-down critiques are outdated. What they want is formal feedback that contributes to their professional development. It’s also time that current reviews hear the employee out, taking into consideration what they need to feel better supported in growth and performance, and what resources can be provided to make work simpler and streamlined. The modern workforce needs to be evaluated using multi-directional feedback; that’s what motivates millennials to do an outstanding job. 

#2: They need to happen more frequently 

Now, 38% of surveyed employees receive feedback – at most – once a year. 60% of millennials want reviews every one to three months, following the close of a quarter or a project where feedback is plentiful and due. Current performance reviews are stuck in a rut when it comes to timing and need to be accelerated for the sake of employees and their understanding of their progress in a specific position. Frequent feedback puts your people on the right career track, keeping them up to speed on where they need to improve and what they’re doing right. 

#3: They need to be more quantitative 

Current performance reviews stick by a number system that rates performance with proper context. It’s time to make reviews more qualitative than quantitative by prioritizing transparency, asking and answering questions, discussing disagreements, and recognizing high performance or accomplishments. Labeling your people with a number, in reference to a project or skill, leaves no room for interpretation and doesn’t take circumstance into account. Today’s performance reviews should be a back and forth discussion with depth. 

#4: The need to prioritize growth 

If you aren’t prioritizing your people’s growth, then what’s the point of assessing their performance? Reviews weren’t initially put in place to reprimand your people for a job well done and they shouldn’t continue to set that precedent. Instead, modern performance reviews should go over goal-setting and impending milestones to analyze progress. Whether that progress is positive, is a larger discussion that the door is now open to. Millennials want to know that career development is an option for them and their people leaders support their path at the company.

Performance reviews as we know them may be dead, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring them back to life. By modernizing the current review system you have in place, performance reviews will re-emerge from the ashes, growing employees and strengthening culture, as well as business decisions that affect how you scale.


from Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.