Are you trading your performance reviews for fire fighting?

Contribution | Written by Emily Anthony

Shirking performance reviews could land a company in hot water now more than ever.

For many companies, April can often signal the end of Q1, the beginning of Spring, and shaking off the last of the cobwebs from winter breaks and vacations. For many companies, this is also the time to do performance reviews for the year prior. With the rapid shift in how we work due to COVID-19, performance reviews at this time may feel like a non essential task. Contrary to that belief, performance reviews matter now more than ever, and for a very big reason: people value open, honest, and consistent feedback from the organizations they serve during times of uncertainty.

Feedback fuels working relationships organization-wide. The feedback from performance reviews is the fuel to a healthy working relationship. Right now, employees are craving belonging cues that will keep them on board – cues that could sway them away from the lure of another role as the landscape rapidly becomes uncertain. In addition, feedback works both ways – creating belonging cues for the person giving feedback as well as the person receiving feedback.

Feedback can uncover weak spots that may not have been known prior to the organization. Employees often see things from angles that executives do not have visibility into, and that feedback can be valuable in finding ways and methods to continually improve company processes and approaches during this ever-shifting environment. It’s important to remember that this kind of feedback isn’t criticism – it’s a pathway to company agility and proactivity.

Feedback can positively impact performance. This is especially true of employees that see peers furloughed or laid off. If an employee has a larger workload and is experiencing stress and uncertainty in their environment, feedback may help employees remain aligned to the objectives and goals of the organization while motivating them to dig deep and perform better. This has a ripple effect – people feed off of each others’ energy, and they will often step up when they see that an employee is helping drive that morale.

One of the most important things to remember while giving a performance review is to make sure that the feedback you receive from an employee during this process is regarded as equally important. Making sure that an employee understands that their feedback is heard, understood, and will be utilized to improve the organization will speak volumes to the employee.

We are all collectively feeling the impacts of COVID, and as a result we’re all seeking connection and feedback from peers, family, and friends. The same is true of organizations – let your employees know how they’re doing and let them know how you’re doing. It will make a difference in the uncertain months ahead.