After about 4 paragraphs in to a comment on Jeremy’s Gruntle about performance reviews I realized I should just post my thoughts here. That’s what trackback is for.
We are trying something different this year with reviews. We’ve got about 75 managers in our group in a pilot of a quarterly review process where each quarter the employee’s objectives (right now just the managers) are agreed upon and documented (for everyone else to see too) and then at the end of the quarter we review progress (reviews are not viewable by all of course). The objective setting takes a top-down approach so that everyone can base their objectives on the objectives of those above them. Then the cycle starts again. We are going to try it for a quarter or two before deciding if we are going to get employees and other areas of the company involved. The CEO is watching the pilot closely and so far likes what he sees.
Of course if you were a good manager you did this anyway, but making it formal certainly helps those who ordinarily would not.
The annual review then becomes a roll-up of your quarterly reviews with some extra stuff tacked on. Should make for smoothing the workload out throughout the year.
The most interesting aspect of this approach is the visibility of objectives all the way up, down and across the organization. Everyone can (in theory anyway) see how their objectives tie into the company objectives, which is always a good thing. In theory the horizontal visibility will help peers understand how they can help each other meet their goals.
Other than some issues with the technology we are using things have been going well and we’ve gotten good comments from managers and employees who have also seen the pilot.
So far I like it and I hope the pilot is successful.