Osbourne Clarke
Maru Inplacement

Re-Thinking Uninspiring Performance Reviews

24 October 2017

Story by
Sarah Rice


Performance management is an ongoing discussion in HR. Not least because satisfied staff are far more likely to stick around than those who aren’t. Most organisations utilise performance reviews to keep their staff motivated and structured; but how effective really are they? Too often employees leave reviews feeling less motivated and misaligned with the work they are really doing. To ensure management are making the most of their performance reviews, try these steps.


The consistency of performance reviews can be the make or break between having a relevant discussion and an outdated one. If management find themselves struggling to remember what objectives they actually set their staff and therefore if the individual has met their targets or not, the reviews aren’t happening frequently enough. This works two ways, employees who wait too long for their review will find their objectives outdated with their current workload and will need to reflect upon successes or mistakes which happened months previous. Consider how frequently and manageable it is to hold reviews on a more frequent basis and implement this where possible.


Objectives are set with a forward thinking approach without yet having knowledge of what unforeseen projects will arise over the coming months. This will often result in a mismatch of objectives not relevant to the work that an individual has actually done or the successes they may have had. Management should be aware that reviews can be conducted in a flexible manner and objectives can be tweaked to reflect what is actually going on in the workplace. If employees are judged on objectives they could never have achieved or work they weren’t given it will slowly impact their respect and motivation for the review process. Re-assessing objectives where necessary so that they are realistic will set a precedent for reviews being fair and worthwhile.

Quality Feedback

An average review or lazy objectives could be the reason an employee starts to look for new roles where they expect to feel more valued. Prior to the review, management should have a firm idea of how they are going to progress the individual and how their role can move forward. This should be tailored based on the employees feedback on where they think their strengths lie and what aspects of the job they enjoy, but nonetheless management should be armed with a positive plan from the outset. Leaving employees excited for the future will result in a greater investment in the review process and more motivated staff.



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