Annual performance reviews deemed inaccurate by 45% of HR professionals
Annual performance reviews have long been criticised as a source of anxiety for employers and workers alike, with some faulting the process for being too stressful and time-consuming.
Recent survey statistics however highlight that the yearly appraisal model may not even be particularly effective in assessing and improving employee performance.
According to one US study, 45% of HR professionals do not think that annual performance reviews provide an accurate reflection of an employee’s work.
Meanwhile, just 8% of companies feel that annual reviews are ‘highly effective’ in boosting productivity, with 58% feeling that their performance management strategy was not an efficient use of time.
Despite this, delivering feedback remains an essential and effective tool for strengthening worker morale and improving overall performance, with 69% of employees saying they would work harder if they received more recognition for their work.
Strong performance appraisals and feedback systems are especially crucial in the school system, where teachers frequently report feeling undervalued for the work they do.
Implementing strong feedback channels can help school leaders to maintain staff satisfaction and identify teachers’ career development needs, as well as help to monitor goals for overall school improvement.
Under current regulations, school leaders must complete an annual appraisal for teachers, in which performance is reviewed and objectives are set to improve education quality for pupils.
Teachers must be given a written appraisal report including an assessment of their current performance, input on their professional training and development needs, and a recommendation on pay progressions.
Whilst these mandatory, yearly reviews provide a starting point for teacher performance feedback, concerns regarding their shortcomings underline that they must be supplemented with other forms of feedback to maintain school performance.
By working to introduce a culture of more open, frequent and informal teacher performance feedback, school leaders can boost job satisfaction amongst teachers, refocus staff on school objectives, and bolster school performance.
Rising demand for frequent, less formal reviews
Whilst the yearly appraisal model has been in place in many organisations for decades, recent research indicates that workers appreciate and benefit from receiving feedback in a more frequent and less formal manner.
Providing feedback on performance in real time rather than gathering comments over a twelve-month period can help workers to attach comments to specific incidents and therefore better evaluate and learn from their actions, as well as strengthening communication between management and employees and making staff feel more recognised.
This in turn can translate to a boost in employee engagement and business productivity, with one study finding that nearly half (43%) of employees assessed as ‘highly engaged’ received at least weekly feedback.
In another study, employers that implemented an ongoing feedback model reported improvements to employee engagement in 32% of cases.
These results align with workers’ own opinions– in a poll carried out by PwC, nearly 60% of respondents said that they would like to receive feedback on a daily or weekly basis.
This number increased to 72% for employees under the age of 30 – highlighting a particular desire amongst the younger workforce for frequent performance feedback.
80% of younger workers stated that they preferred receiving on-the-spot feedback – whether positive or negative – to formal, periodic reviews, reporting that regular feedback helped them understand what was expected of them and bolstered their professional development.
In managing trainees teachers and those in the early stages of their career, school leaders may therefore particularly benefit from making an effort to provide informal, day to day feedback.
This sort of more casual, conversational performance review equips less-experienced staff to progress with specific, immediate direction and helps to strengthen relationships between new teachers and management.
Indeed, throughout experience levels, casual and regular feedback can boost performance, job satisfaction and even retention rates – with 75% of workers across all ages rating frequent feedback as helpful.
Experts advise schools to instate ‘open door policy’ on feedback
In order to implement an effective casual appraisal approach, school leaders must pay attention to the content as well as frequency of their feedback.
Comments on performance should be linked to strength specific appraisals of a teacher’s working style, so that employees are clear about where they are doing well as well as where they need to change their approach.
Strength-specific feedback has been linked to improved worker performance as well as to increased worker motivation and morale.
A Gallup study of 65,672 employees found a 14.9% lower turnover rate at organisations where workers received feedback on their strengths.
School leaders should equally ensure that the onus of an ‘open door policy’ rests with them.
Education experts advise that school leaders use informal feedback – whether delivered in person or by email – to “seek out teacher voice” on an individual level, and “not just during staff meetings or through an annual survey.”
By taking time to give regular, immediate feedback in this way, schools may save themselves time in the long run: resolving issues efficiently, boosting staff satisfaction and improving teacher retention rates.
In turn, the regularity of the approach allows teachers to receive and absorb feedback in a low-pressure environment, without it being directly linked to overarching questions of career and pay progression.
Supplementing traditional appraisals with informal feedback can in this way help school leaders and teachers to communicate more productively – creating an open dialogue around performance and removing the anxiety and confusion from appraisal discussions
Improving Performance Management
Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.
To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3411 1080