Continuous, Real-Time, Semi-Structured Feedback Instead of Annual Reviews

In a question on Quora about how a start-up should handle performance reviews, John Lilly writes:

After believing in annual reviews for most of my career, I don't really believe in them anymore. Not timely enough, demoralizing in general (everyone thinks they're above average), and just a hell of a lot of work for everyone. This negative view of annual & traditional reviews is quite strongly supported by university research — it's just counter-productive, even though we all think we should do it.

My own view is that you need tools like Rypple to do continuous, real-time, semi-structured feedback that adds up, over the course of months or years, to a real picture of how the person is performing, and gives both the employee and managers a way to get better.

Hear, hear. In particular, the "continuous" and "real-time" parts. This ensures that feedback is given soon after whatever event prompted the feedback. I've been involved in feedback sessions that reference events that occured months and months earlier–those never end well.

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Other links:

Bryan Caplan offers tips on how to reduce your envy of others.

A University of Chicago project on defining and exploring the nature of wisdom.

Tyler Cowen riffs on which intellectuals have true influence. He has a very high standard for what "influence" means. The upside to such a high standard is it helps prevent word inflation. "Brilliant" is an adjective that has lost meaning due to overuse. The downside to such a high standard is that people who truly do wield influence but maybe not world-changing influence can more easily forget the responsibility that comes with it. When Tyler blogs, people listen. His influence is non-trivial. He should not taking his writing lightly…and I know he doesn't! He's influential.

Steve Silberman's sober, reflective look at what he learned from Allen Ginsburg:

One of my favorite Zen koans is, "Who was Buddha's teacher?" You don't need a spiritual parent to tell you that contentment is elusive and fleeting, that every thing and every place you treasure is in the process of being transformed into something unrecognizable, and that every love affair, killer startup idea and Facebook thread eventually ends with shrugs and a funeral.

5 Responses to Continuous, Real-Time, Semi-Structured Feedback Instead of Annual Reviews

  1. Maxim says:

    Thanks for great links!

  2. Thanks for the link, Ben!

  3. Eric Barker says:

    Great post. Agreed. Most procedures for hiring, evaluating and promoting go against what studies are telling us really works.

  4. Real-time, semi-structured feedback:

    I agree thick-lipped, toothy James Franco is hardly too luscious to play the eternal adolescent Allen Ginsberg. Slip a pair of “glistening” horn-rimmed glasses on him and there’s your doppleganger.

    So a bunch of bitchy queens who think Franco is super-hot call Ginsberg a troll and Steve Silberman wants to cue the “subliminal anti-Semitism”?

    That’s a bit much– Franco’s mother is Jewish, which makes him Jewish by birth.

    And it’s odd that Silberman doesn’t find any irony in that hard-living, drunken fascist Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche telling Ginsberg to clean up his act.

    But it’s exceedingly odd that he deifies the dissolute old goat.

  5. Annual reviews are a waste of time.

    If you’re a manager you need to close enough to your staff to say well done or pull yourself together at the time its needed – dont wait six months for the annual review.

    Continuous appraisal – in a relaxed setting is the way forward – your staff will respect you more.

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