Is there an ideal time to have a performance review for employees?
Christopher, my opinion is:
New hires = 90 days
Current employees = every year on their anniversary
Don't underestimate the power of giving impromptu progress reports on their performance. I like receiving updates on how I am doing from my boss, even if it doesn't result in a monetary incentive.
Keep communication lines open, too many employees and bosses fail to see the true benefit in communicating desires from the other. It can result in poor attitudes on both sides due to the thinking that the other person does not care, when in fact they probably do care.
Managers should be providing feedback to their staff all year long. My philosophy as always been that no employee should ever be surprised by what is said in their review good or bad. If someone on my staff is surprised at review time, than as I manager I didn't do my job well.
At the start of the year, everyone on my staff knows what the Corporate and Department objectives are, what their individual goals are, what my expectations are, the timing of deliverables etc.
As I result, my team always delivers exceptional results, because they know what is expected of them, they know where they stand, and most importantly they know and see how their hard work and efforts improved the business this year.
That is the perfect response. I find the forms that most companies use as nothing more than a formality. It does help level set objectives and drive some creative thinking if done correctly.
I recommend one annual review and quarterly check-ins - all documented. In order to make this happen you need to schedule when your managers are least busy, seasonally speaking. This will depend on your customer's buying habits more than anything. At a company that was in the consumer hardware business, the christmas holidays were huge for us, which meant Q3 and Q4 were a nightmare to do anything other than develop, manufacture and ship software and hardware. Thus, we had our big annual reviews in May every year. Mid-quarter, slow time of the year, perfect for that company. Go through that thought process at your company and you will have more willing managers, and they are the ones most taxed by this process. The employees love it, the managers like it, but hate the time involved.
There are many kinds of feedback and many components of job expectations. Timely feedback means giving feedback close to the actual point of performance.
Annual reviews are often given as part of the process of planning annual compensation changes. This leads to a creative writing exercise to justify the compensation change desired. Then,
A better approach is to do formal reviews as part of the periodic business planning process. Beginning with the organization's strategy (why exist), review successes from last period (and the employee's contribution and/or missed opportunities) and commitments and goals for the upcoming period (and expectations for the employee's contribution).
Thereafter, whenever the employee fulfills a commitment or achieves an expectation, the feedback can be immediate (and documented). Whenever opportunities for achievement or
The standardization and normalization across locations and departments can occur up front, as part of the planning/goal setting process, rather than after the period of performance in ratings adjustments.