Goumbik / Pixabay

The annual employee review process is nothing new; it’s been a staple of the workplace for generations, and it remains widely practiced.

But does that mean it’s effective? Not necessarily. According to new data, 72 percent of U.S. employees find annual reviews to be time-consuming. More than half of employees say reviews have no impact on how they do their jobs.

So to recap: Time-consuming, ineffective, and potentially demoralizing, to boot. Does that sound like something you need to invest in?

The good news here is that, even if you have a review system in place, there are ways you can change it, make it more meaningful. Here are some recommendations.

Making Your Review Process Count

  1. When you do offer feedback—whether during an annual review or simply on the fly—make sure you don’t base it on a single instance. Criticizing an employee for being tardy when he or she showed up late just one time is unfair, and naturally makes people defensive. Focus more on the big picture, rather than wringing big conclusions from isolated incidents.
  2. Prepare for your reviews. Put some effort into gathering data, input from other managers, and whatever other information might help you hone in on personalized feedback. Again, look to the big picture: Try to focus the conversation on what the employee wants to learn, and how he or she wants to progress in the coming year.
  3. Remove the threat of cut salaries or lost bonuses. The review process should not include adverse impact on compensation. If it does, that’s all employees will be thinking about. Make it clear that the process is about helping your team members grow and develop—that and nothing more.
  4. Don’t think of yourself as a reviewer. Your job is not to offer a simple verdict. Think of yourself as a coach. You and your employee are on the same team, after all, and you want that employee to succeed. Center the entire process on that idea: What you can do to help drive success for everyone

These tips can help you redeem your annual reviews—and make them truly worthwhile for your team members.