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How often should we conduct a performance review meeting?

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Nowadays, the performance assessment meeting represents a common practice that is, no longer, an uncomfortable event for either the employer, or the employee. Now that each party is familiar with this activity, the next arising matter regards how often should it be conducted? The frequency rate must take into consideration aspects that will enhance employee performance and also favor company and leaders’ resources.

  1. One annual meeting

Once the need for performance assessment meetings has been acknowledged, it generally starts with a frequency of occurrence of once per year. Having one annual performance review meeting with the company’s employees can be effective but it can also become an obstacle in reaching the desired performance results.

In the context of a very dynamic business environment which is continuously growing, developing and changing, a once a year performance review meeting means that employees will pursuit objectives which might be outdated in comparison with the company’s current aims. Ineffectiveness might also occur when an employee, who is not on the right track towards achieving performance, will not be able to reestablish himself on the right course earlier than within a year.  This is due to the absence of feedback and a clear overview, elements which are normally established during performance review meetings. These are the risks and the threats that may interfere when assessment meetings are conducted no earlier than once a year.

Nevertheless, there can also be contexts when a once a year performance assessment leads to reaching the desired performance results. This is the case when a rolling business has reached a stable state which is to be maintained: changes are few and rarely interfere with the strategic goals. A once a year performance evaluation, in such a context, may be more effective as the path needed to be followed is clear and arises from the previous performance cycles.

  1. Biannual meetings

Another approach of the frequency of performance assessment meetings is the biannual one which takes place twice a year, at the beginning/end of the year and at its middle. This approach maintains the employees more frequently updated on how they are performing in relation to the set objectives and also what is expected from them. When assessment meetings are conducted accordingly to performance standards, feedback during such an encounter stimulates employees’ motivation. Through a biannual performance review meeting, employees’ motivation for their work activity is being maintained at a higher levels. In addition, updates, changes, business goals and individual objectives are constantly aligned.

One inconvenient of conducting a twice per year review meeting is that leaders have to double their investment in resources like time, preparation in advance and, of course, rewards allocation. Efforts of these investments will, however, be compensated further on by employees who are motivated and eager to perform.

  1. Quarterly meetings

The last approach presented concerns assessment meetings included in a quarterly schedule, or every three months. For an employee, to be evaluated every three months means to continuously receive feedback. Additionally, because every feedback is constructive during performance meetings, the output expected from employees is to become more and more performance-oriented.

However, every three months evaluations can lead to two decisively opposite paths, depending on the context and manner of conduct. For example, in cases where deadlines are not tight and the business is not visibly changing, employees will feel like being held under constant surveillance, rather than being appreciated for their efforts. On the opposite side, when quarterly review meetings are performed in the context of a very dynamic business with employees who are working strictly on projects, a performance evaluation meeting comes as additional support and guidance to ongoing development activities.

There isn’t any perfect recipe regarding how often a review meeting should be conducted. However, leaders should constantly take into consideration the dynamics of the business they are running, together with the organizational culture. They have to know their employees and what would make them feel awakened, aware of the input they are bringing to the company. Once the frequency of the performance review meetings has been decided, the next relevant steps are to clearly and transparently communicate this decision to employees and to assure an open framework during performance discussions.

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