There are few words in the modern workplace that cause as much abject apathy than “….it’s time for your annual performance review…” (insert Pepto Bismal here) And yet, for many companies (and their HR teams) they remain a part of the circle of working life.
But In 2014, Cigna decided to rethink its performance management philosophy and process, after reviewing the findings of recent research on human motivation. The company dropped its end-of-year performance ratings, and moved instead to requiring that managers conduct more frequent, less formal, check-in-style conversations with subordinates about their performance, emphasizing continual learning and growth. Cigna’s goal in this shift was to support aggressive business expectations: creating a more positive and motivating work environment while staying fully committed to a “pay for performance” compensation philosophy. Three years later, the new performance management process is still in place, and a recent survey of employees showed overall positive results.
Because we don’t get better at our jobs once a year. We do it daily and that requires managers to have performance-related conversations much more frequently. But does scrapping annual reviews really benefit the bottom line? Harder to say.
Recently, a research group at the Neuroleadership Institute studied 27 companies that had gotten rid of formal ratings and were between two and five years into their new performance management framework. And of the 22 firms tracking employee engagement, all of them found that it went UP after the new system was in place, and it has continued to do so.
At Moore Benefits, I’m trying to run things this way and I think (like Cigna and others) we’re kinda changing the narrative about performance review time! Because it’s ALWAYS performance review time and that’s actually a very positive way to look at it because we all want to get better, be better and achieve more for our companies and our clients.
And that’s us—out there helping YOU rule at performance reviews or anything HR-related like the happy world of health insurance and employee benefits.
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