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How useful are employee reviews?

Philip Shepherd

31st August 2020

No matter how big or small your company, you’re likely to have employee performance reviews as part of your HR procedure.


However, as commonplace as these reviews are in the modern workplace, how useful are they?

What are employee reviews for?

The aim of employee reviews is to determine how successfully an individual has performed their role. It should provide insight for both the employee and their employer, be that their team leader, line manager, or a senior member of the company.


They are often used to offer advice on how an employee can improve their performance, to discuss expectations for a future promotion, or to justify a bonus or raise. In addition to this, they serve as a reference point in the case of poor performance that may lead to a dismissal, giving an employee a verbal warning that their performance is not currently acceptable.

Do employee reviews inspire improvement?

American analytics and advisory company Gallup found that only 14% of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews inspire them to improve.


While a performance review may have the intention of acknowledging and praising good work, the reality is often that they are either seen as a box-ticking exercise, or as an opportunity for criticism.

How can we better inspire improvement?

69% of employees say that they would work harder if their efforts were better recognised.


While both positive and negative feedback are important for future growth, thanking someone for a job well done gives a sense of satisfaction and appreciation, which can better inspire a continued attitude towards work.


Instead of taking an hour or two once a year to discuss an employee’s contributions to the company, one of the most effective ways to inspire them to work harder is through continuous, genuine feedback.


Giving praise and criticism in the moment not only helps an employee to learn, it also gives them an opportunity to change or improve their way of working and to have this effort acknowledged almost immediately. This is a much more efficient way to promote continuous change within your workforce. It shows that you are paying attention to the members of your team and speaking up because you feel that it is worthwhile, not simply because it has been scheduled into your calendar.

Should you get rid of employee reviews?

How effective your employee reviews are is heavily dependent on what you expect to get out of them, and how you use the information that comes to light. It may be the case that you need to reform your existing review strategy, replace it with another form of regular feedback, or scrap the idea of a formal review altogether.


Where managers are of the attitude that they are simply jumping through hoops to satisfy their HR department, employee reviews will have little benefit. Likewise, if they are not held often enough to allow for meaningful continual feedback, or if employee requests for support to help improve their performance are ignored, there is nothing of value to be gained from the conversation.


Review your existing processes, speak to employees, managers and key stakeholders to determine what does and doesn’t work for your organisation. Once you have a better idea of what people want from the review process, you can adapt it accordingly.

Looking to hire motivated employees?

As experts in digital recruitment, Opilio can help you to build a talented, motivated workforce that will lead your business from strength to strength.


Get in touch with us to discuss your staffing requirements today.

Philip Shepherd

Philip Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing

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020 7183 7145