Yearly Performance Reviews are Standard at Most Companies, Survey Shows

MENLO PARK, CA -- For most managers, conducting performance reviews is part of the job description. But how often should you check in with employees? In a recent survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of executives polled said they schedule formal staff appraisals annually, while 29 percent hold these meetings more frequently.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. The poll includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "How often, if ever, do you conduct formal performance appraisals of your staff?" Their responses: 

Quarterly   10%
Twice a year   19%
Once a year   66%
As necessary   2%
Never/don't conduct formal appraisals   3%

"Annual performance appraisals are common among companies that tie formal reviews to yearly raises and bonuses," said Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam. "But it's important for managers to provide ongoing feedback to their staff to foster greater productivity and reduce the potential for miscommunication."

"Don't wait until the formal review to recognize excellent work or raise concerns about weak performance," advised Hughes. "Instead, address these situations when they arise and use the review to discuss an employee's overall progress toward established goals." She offers these tips for conducting an effective meeting: 

  • Stick to a schedule - Decide on a standard review schedule and adhere to it. Consider holding more frequent meetings for new or less experienced employees.
  • Consult the experts - Your legal and human resources departments may have guidelines and materials to help you plan the review. Ask if there are policies for discussing compensation, documenting the meetings and for following up.
  • Be fair and consistent - Meet with each staff member privately for the review, ideally in a place where you can focus without interruption. Evaluate all employees according to the same criteria.
  • Request participation - Ask the employee to prepare a list of accomplishments, obstacles and goals. Review this document prior to the meeting and use it as the basis for discussion.
  • Develop an action plan - Even the best employees can improve in some ways. Set objectives with each staff member and plan a course for progress checks prior to the next formal review. 

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

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