Welcome to Reflektive's HR Guide to Designing and Launching an Effective Reviews & Check-Ins Program! We will be talking about strategies, best practices, and tips that you can use to successfully implement Reflektive's reviews platform to your organization. Please review all the following sections carefully. Each of the chapters are broken down into separate articles, which are linked in the table of contents below.
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Every organization approaches reviews and check-ins slightly differently. Some companies use a traditional approach, and have an annual review cycle to gauge performance and guide decisions on promotions and pay raises. Others have more informal, development-focused conversations on a quarterly basis. We recommend a hybrid approach to address organizational needs, and boost employee development and alignment. But first, let’s cover the differences between reviews and check-ins.
2.1 Reviews vs. Check-Ins: Definitions
Given the differences between reviews and check-ins, the next question that HR teams ask us is: when should I run review cycles, and when should I run check-ins? We’ve seen that leading companies conduct performance reviews annually or semi-annually, and schedule check-ins between performance reviews. A sample calendar is below:
2.2 Select the Right Cycle During Times of Change
While the aforementioned calendar is helpful when it’s “business as usual”, we encourage businesses to make adjustments when there are meaningful changes to their workforce. To ensure that your HR team is crafting the right cycle for your company now, first decide on the objective of your review or check-in. To think through what is most important to your organization, consider the following questions:
- What are my strategic HR priorities? (e.g., identifying and retaining top talent, improving alignment)
- What is our appetite for change at this time?
- What is the current state of our feedback culture?
- How should review data be used? (e.g., influencing promotions or raises, driving career development)
- How should goals be used to evaluate performance?
Based on how your HR team has responded to these questions, identify which of the five objectives makes sense for your company:
Building a culture of feedback
Boost productivity and engagement with a holistic conversation that spans skills, goals, and career growth
Ensure that all employees are working towards top-line business goals with frequent conversations on priorities
Motivate and retain talent with a conversation on skills and leadership opportunities
Empower employees by developing their competencies and helping them better align with company values
Informing talent management decisions
Plan for pay raises and promotions by collecting formal qualitative and quantitative data on employee performance
2.3 Include the Optimal Questions for your Review or Check-In
Once you’ve identified the right review or check-in for your workforce, you can start the next phase of question development. In general, it’s best to keep your form short and limit it to 4-7 questions. We recommend the following self-assessment questions based on your review or check-in type:
Building a Culture of Feedback
What are 3-5 accomplishments you’re proud of?
- Alignment & Evaluation
Think about your main goals. How have you performed relative to these goals in the past quarter?
Think about the main responsibilities of your role. How have you performed relative to these responsibilities in the past quarter?
What is the most important thing you could have done at least 10% better last quarter? What would you do differently next time?
What do you want your next career step to be? What step can you take to get there?
- Have your goals changed or should they change?
- What went well this quarter?
- What could have gone better in the last quarter? List 1-2 learnings that can be applied going forward.
- What help do you need to make better progress toward your goals?
Provide 1-2 pieces of feedback that could help this employee make better progress toward their goals.
- How did you grow your career here last quarter?
- What knowledge, experiences, and/or collaboration opportunities would benefit you in the next quarter?
- What do you want your next career step to be?
- What steps can you take to get there? What support do you need?
Evaluate each value and/or competency and how frequently the employee shows the value
Informing talent management decisions
- What goals did you accomplish?
- What goals were you unable to achieve?
- How will you tackle them differently in the future?
- What skills would you like to use more of in your role?
- In an ideal world, what would your next role look like?
Additionally, if employees are providing peer feedback, we recommend using the “traffic light model” of “start”, “stop”, and “continue” questions. Sample questions include:
2.4 Develop Success Criteria
After aligning on the objective and content for your review or check-in, we also recommend that HR teams ask themselves: “How will we define success?” Below are some of the key metrics that we recommend HR teams evaluate.
See what percentage of employees completed their reviews or check-ins on-time. For 360 reviews, assess peer completion rates too.
Send a poll shortly after the review or check-in to identify what worked and what didn’t, and whether the information was helpful to employees.
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