It’s that time of year again. Calendars are thick again. Budgets full. And hallway conversations spark with the enthusiasm of new projects finally getting underway.
Yet while all eyes are on the priorities of the new year, there’s still one last box left to check on last year’s list: the annual performance review.
Reviews at every organization are unique — one-of-a-kind practices informed by internal culture and shaped over time by changes in policies, management, technology, and other factors. Even among closely competing organizations, performance review processes are often vastly different.
Well, except for one small detail. Across virtually every organization, just saying the words “performance review” is enough to raise the blood pressure of everyone in earshot.
For employees, performance reviews create two kinds of stress. First and foremost, the process is often seen as a challenge to vindicate their year’s labor — and in those organizations that include stack ranking as part of performance reviews, their very place in the company. Competing with the pressure to measure up, however, is pressure to make the most of the opportunity — employees regard review season as their best chance to prove their worth and win raises, promotions, and new opportunities.
For management and executives, performance reviews carry all the pressures felt by individual contributors — plus one more. Because not only do leaders undergo their own reviews, they are also responsible for making time and completing the reviews for every individual on their teams. And that means attempting to make a fair accounting for every activity undertaken all year — both in the black and white terms of whether each employee delivered on assignments, as well as in the more open-ended areas of whether their team members succeeded in accordance with company culture, the team’s real needs as they evolved, and each person’s own potential.
And if they manage all that, then take it and summarize it into a score, a ranking, a letter grade, or whatever other shorthand your organization uses.
But most of all, this time of year creates the most stress for your HR team. Already challenged to do more with less, they’re the ones who are responsible for the entire annual review process. Every question every quibble every quirk comes back to them — mostly just in the form of employees wanting to make sure they “get it right,” as well as from management wanting to ensure they “do things the right way.”
And all that means right now, your HR team is working hard just to keep up with the deluge of questions — 90 percent of which are just asking for the same basic information over and over again.
When it comes to helping their people complete their performance reviews, most organizations rely on some combination of a few paragraphs of how-to text and the willing assistance of their front-line management.
Trouble is, for something with as much importance as an annual review, that’s just not enough. Written instructions falter for either not detailing the process specifically enough, or for including too much detail and prompting employees to skim and just assume they’ll be able to make sense of it all when the time comes.
Asking a manager, too, is often a non-starter. Many employees will hesitate to admit they can’t figure out an assignment — especially when the assignment is an assessment of their competence and the person they’d be asking for help is also the person who will determine their final score.
If your HR team could, they’d want to sit down with each member of your organization and just give a quick 5-7 minute overview of the process. They’d take a step-by-step look at the assessment, offer the answers to common questions, and share those last little details that help your employees confidently complete their review.
So let them.
Most organizations have already discovered the value of video as a tool for scaling employee training and communications. That same tool can be applied in HR to help teach your people the fundamentals of how to navigate your HR systems, appropriately complete their assessments, and get back to knocking off achievements for this year’s review in 12 month’s time.
A targeted HR training video doesn’t have to be a complicated production. Most organizations will find that just recording a member of the Human Resources team presenting a short set of slides and an on-screen walkthrough of the system results in an engaging video that really helps employees better understand how the process works, what they need to do, and how they can do it best. The whole process can be done with just a laptop and a webcam — and in only a few minutes, if you already have a PowerPoint file at hand.
Once complete, your HR team can make the video available on your intranet, or better still, if you have an enterprise video platform like Panopto, you can share it there on your corporate YouTube where everyone in the organization will have on-demand access, anytime and anywhere from any device, and even be able to search the video for any specific word spoken or shown on-screen.
Find Out More!
Targeted, on-demand employee training with video is a simple, scalable way to help all your employees learn more, enhance skills, and boost productivity.
To find out how your organization can use Panopto to put video to work for you, contact our team for a free 30 day trial of Panopto today.