Revitalizing Performance Reviews
A Practical Approach to Alignment and Growth
As we're in the midst of the annual cycle of performance reviews, it's important to rethink their purpose for better understanding. Typically, these reviews focus on evaluating an employee's skills, with the manager and employee talking about what worked well and what didn't. The manager then rates the employee.
But there are drawbacks to this traditional approach:
Unequal communication between manager and employee
Evaluation of individual actions in isolation
A backward-looking emphasis that ignores future considerations
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Focus On Alignment
A more effective approach is to discuss skills, requirements, behaviors, and mindsets – all relevant factors. The primary focus, however, should be on recognizing that a performance review is fundamentally about alignment.
Here are some essential questions:
Are the employee's skills aligned with the requirements?
Do their actions align with the overarching goals?
Are the manager's expectations for the the role met?
Are we collectively moving towards the same destination?
Do we anticipate a need for a shift in mindset moving forward?
In essence, a performance review should act as a compass for alignment and minor course corrections. The focus should shift from an annual event to a more frequent practice. Importantly, the performance review should occur on equal terms and at eye level.
By embracing this shift, we create an environment where the review becomes a strategic tool for growth and alignment rather than a retrospective critique. Regular, collaborative reviews enable continuous improvement and ensure that both managers and employees are on the same path, working toward common goals.
Let's reimagine performance reviews not just as evaluations, but as dynamic conversations that lead us to a shared vision for the future.
What I read
This is separate section of this newsletter. I will list some of the best articles I read on the internet. They may or may not be related to the topic of this article. I will keep a list of the best articles (currently >700) at https://www.digital-product-management.com. These are today’s picks:
FAST Agile: Fluid Scaling Technology (FAST Agile) fills the gap for a purely complex agile method.
Great Engineering Hiring Process: A Comprehensive Guide for Engineering Managers to Perfect the Hiring Process to Build Your Team
How to stay organized as a PM: Using tools and processes to keep yourself organized is the n1 differentiator between good and great PMs.