Creating a sense of progress

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Feeling like they are moving forward is one of the key drivers of employee engagement among the 2018 Best Firms to Work For, so it’s not surprise that so many of them are making the most of that time-honored management tool – the employee review.

To start, they hold them more often than most employers: Two-fifths (44 percent) of the Best Firms schedule reviews twice a year, and a quarter (26 percent) schedule them more frequently than that; less than a third (30 percent) hew to the standard once-a-year time frame.

Annual reviews don’t give managers or employees much of a chance to assess performance and adjust goals appropriately; meeting more frequently allows managers to fix problems before things get too far out of hand – and to recognize success more quickly and then establish new goals. (It’s worth noting that many of the Best Firms make a point of giving out awards and recognition for special achievement on the fly, but that’s not quite the same as a formal assessment.)

When it comes to more advanced tools and methods for reviewing employee performance, the Best Firms are definitely open. More than half of them use 360-degree performance reviews, where feedback flows to employees not just from their managers, but also from their peers and those who report to them: Thirty percent use these for all staff, while 28 percent use them only for supervisors and above.

They’re also open to exploring other ways of charting forward momentum. Johanson & Yau, for instance, a Best Firm in San Jose, California, reported, “We recently eliminated performance review ratings in favor of a more forward-facing process that focuses on employee success toward firm and personal goals. Our staff appreciates this modern approach to performance management.”

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