Are Performance Reviews A Thing Of The Past?

COVID-19 has upended scores of workplace norms. No longer do job candidates, or employers, presume that a job is or should be centered out of an office. Water cooler banter often takes place through a video screen. Company events ranging from team lunches to town halls rarely happen in person anymore. With all of this change, it would follow suit that the entire practice of performance management itself is due for a reinvention.

A changing workplace

As many workplaces transformed to virtual settings, the way managers supervised their direct reports also changed, in part due to the informality that the sudden shift to remote necessitated. Leaders and managers got a front-row seat to their employees’ personal lives, as families, pets and more all shared the Zoom screen, and employees required a new sense of empathy from their managers.


That informality meant that what used to be lengthy, sit-down meetings in a conference room became quick phone chats or virtual team huddles, scheduled around employees’ many new responsibilities. Managers learned new ways to connect and stay aligned with their employees, being agile and meeting them where they were instead of relying on more static strategies for talent management. And, without the ability to carry out the formal annual or semi-annual assessment in the corner office, managers had to rethink their traditional approaches to performance reviews.

Performance management of the future  

According to a 2019 study by Gallup, infrequent, formal performance reviews received low marks across the board from employees surveyed. Just 14% said that their supervisors’ assessments inspire them to strive to improve their performance. The report also found that that traditional approaches to feedback actually can cause more harm than good, with about one-third saying they make employees’ performance worse. And notably, these stats are from before the pandemic—which has significantly reshaped what employees expect from their supervisors and their employer on the whole.


The longtime, top-down approach many employers took with assessments—in which managers would talk “at” employees about their performance—have fallen by the wayside: Modern employees instead expect to be talked “with.” The events of the last year-and-a-half have proven that collaboration is key in the workplace, particularly in quickly changing, stressful conditions. That’s not to say that today’s employees don’t need or expect guidance about their performance; but rather, they have become more empowered to expect their managers to work alongside them on improvements that can lead to greater team success.


For many employers today, those changing expectations have led managers to conduct more frequent check-ins with their reports. Whether daily or weekly, these quick conversations allow for managers and employees to work together on setting goals and problem-solving pain points, all in a fluid, informal fashion. Instead of having to wait six months or a year to learn where managers think employees can improve, this approach gives employees ongoing insight into their performance, as well as the confidence to know their manager is invested in their improvement.


With a trusted partner like Integrity Staffing Solutions, your business can deliver modernized approaches to talent management that resonate with employees while also driving them to contribute their best to your organization.