Traditional Performance Reviews Aren’t Useful (Here’s What to Do Instead)

In the metalcasting industry, traditional performance reviews aren’t useful. Annual performance reviews cause employees anxiety without giving them the consistent feedback they need to improve throughout the year. Many companies have eliminated annual reviews in favor of regular conversational feedback.

Employers and Employees Both Dread Them

Employers dread giving performance reviews because they’re uncomfortable. Having to tell employees what they do wrong makes them feel guilty. Meanwhile, employees also dread annual reviews. To them, it feels like they’re on trial. Plus, it is difficult for employees to keep track of all their yearly accomplishments and roadblocks. Most employers only participate in the ritual because they need a way to evaluate employees for raises and promotions.

The Problem with Sporadic Feedback

Most managers cannot accurately evaluate yearly performance in one session. Memory plays a major role in performance feedback. Employers will naturally focus on employees’ most recent performance. The other problem is the scope of most annual reviews. Many performance reviews incorporate other tasks such as goal setting, improvement strategies, salary evaluation, etc. Typically, these things are more effective when done gradually.


Traditional performance reviews often create unintentional conflict. Few managers are actually trained in providing feedback in a way that employees will accept. Employees often react to feedback with anger or resentment, or they try to defend their performance instead of strategizing ways to improve performance. Systems that pit managers and employees against each other don’t work.

What to Do Instead?

Constructive feedback is more effective when it is both consistent and conversational. Employees need to know what they are doing well and what they need to work on in real-time so they can continuously push themselves to do better. However, feedback needs to be a discussion. Employees will be more receptive to feedback if it doesn’t feel like a test. Give them the opportunity to discuss what they think they need to improve on and let them have an active say in the goals they set for themselves.

Employees want to improve their skills and performance, but they also want to contribute to their personal career development. Feedback won’t have the intended effect if your team members only receive feedback once a year. Feedback needs to happen weekly or monthly. Managers and employees need to have genuine conversations about performance and strategize together so they can work together to make the necessary adjustments needed to optimize performance.




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