Reduce performance review anxiety

Operators shake up the not-so-popular annual workplace tradition.

performance review anxiety

For all the most obvious reasons, managers and staff don’t always agree. But both sides can get behind retiring annual performance reviews, according to a January survey from software company Adobe, which quit the practice in 2012. There, 64% of surveyed workers and 62% of supervisors consider yearly evaluations outdated.

“My philosophy is if I have to wait a year to tell you where you stand, it’s a little too late,” says Al Ferrone, senior director of dining services at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ferrone and other operators are reforming the meetings to add real value.

Short and regular

Instead of reserving critiques for the end of the year, Ferrone gives regular performance evaluations in informal conversations. He often swings by an employee’s office, with the idea that they’ll feel more comfortable in their own environment. He’ll also give group feedback during meetings. “I’ve got to be honest all the time,” he says.

While Ferrone still holds annual reviews, they are forward-looking instead of retrospective. The director and his staff use the one-hour meetings to set an achievable timeline for goals.

Back and forth

In the hectic pace of a dining environment, taking time to sit down one-on-one for a designated review requires real planning, but is still valuable, says Tom Driscoll, associate director for housing and director of food services for the University of Oregon in Eugene. “The review should be an opportunity for the staff person to tell the supervisor what accomplishments they are proud of, and to reflect on their performance in ways that don’t occur in a less formal conversation,” he says. “A review should also be a two-way street that provides the staff person an opportunity to critique the supervisor.”

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