Almost every employer has a performance review process. In fact, research by Gartner puts this figure as high as 92% of companies having a formal established annual performance review process. Despite this overwhelmingly high figure, when it comes to employee experience and engagement scores – performance conversation metrics remain consistently much lower. The reason for this is simple, the process is designed from a company perspective not an employee perspective. The same piece of research from Gartner that shows that of the 92% of firms that do performance reviews more than one-third of those same organisations don’t provide the employee with any sort of feedback on performance. As an employee how would you feel if your performance was assessed but you were not told what that assessment was? If an organisation wants to improve employee experience, then its approach to performance conversations must change.

Performance should not be a once a year discussion

Employees would like consistent feedback. This has been proven time and time again. They want to know what they do well and what they can improve upon. By only speaking to an employee once a year, research shows there is a significantly higher chance of disengagement than if these conversations happen more regularly. Research shows that performance should be discussed at least once a quarter and ideally once a month to have the maximum impact.

Performance conversations should highlight the strengths

There is only a 1% chance of employee disengagement if an employee feels like their strengths are appreciated. But it is common that discussions focus on the one thing that didn’t go to plan, as opposed to the 9 things that did. An employee does not mind being told there is something they need to be coached on because they do not do it well, providing this is framed in the right way. A bad experience is only arrived at when the good things are ignored, leaving to an employee feeling like they are only called out for their mistakes. For a positive experience, employees must feel that they are being treated fairly when discussing performance.

Feedback from peers is important

Did you know employee performance increases by 14% when feedback from their peers is incorporated into the performance review process? Despite this proven fact, only 17% of organisations include peer feedback into the process. The reason to include peer feedback is simple. Let’s assume you are a manager with 12 people in your team, assuming that you provide equal attention to each employee, you will only spend 1 month of the whole year with each employee. If you have 6 in your team, that means you only spend 2 months with each employee. A team of 3 and you still only see the equivalent of 4 months work each. A manager’s view is a minority view on what the person has done for any period of time. So, to improve experience and ensure fairness a more holistic feedback process is needed.

The conversation should be forward looking

Finally, performance can be improved by another 13% by making performance conversations forward looking, rather than the traditional method of looking backwards. By engaging in forward looking performance conversations, employees are provided with clear direction and purpose which are proven to create higher levels of engagement and performance. By framing the conversation in terms of goals and objectives that need to be achieved, skills and capabilities that need to be developed and the benefits of achieving them. A positive, purpose led environment where the employee is empowered to succeed is created.

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