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Why Annual Reviews Are Obsolete

December 22, 2020

Team Management, Workplace Culture

It’s that time of year again. The time where performance review notifications flash up in your Google Calendar. You start to gather up all the evidence from the entire year and remind yourself exactly what projects each team actually worked on.

It’s ridiculous.

End of year reviews are fast becoming obsolete. Although it has a nice sense of rounding up and rounding off the year, practically it’s not worth the time and effort you spend on it. Think about it - you spend hours compiling the information you need on each team member, spend time going through it individually with each person and set goals that will probably change within a month’s time.

This being said, we do need performance reviews. Otherwise we’re flailing about jumping from one task to the next without clear direction or overall strategy. As managers and leaders, we need to know what our team members are working on, where they’re heading and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. So what’s the solution?

Daily Status Updates

The reason annual reviews are so poor is that they get to the party far too late. If a team member has been inefficient or struggling, why do we wait until the end of the year to rectify it? Likewise, if a person has been fantastic and deserves recognition or a promotion, we’re missing a trick by waiting for months to recognise them.

Daily status updates are the quick and efficient way to find out what’s going on with each and every member of your team. You can see what’s going well and what needs work and you can keep track and rectify it in real time - when it actually happens.

Instant Feedback

Another problem with annual reviews is that you’ve taken months to give any meaningful feedback and by the time it’s received and processed it’s too late. Instant feedback is invaluable. It gives team members the opportunity to work on the comments whilst they’re still relevant. It allows them to change course or adapt their approach and that is crucial for success in any business.


Finally, a key reason for performance reviews is to hold individuals accountable and give credit where credit is due. But any manager worth their salt knows that holding your team accountable is an all year round necessity. Reserving this purely for annual reviews is quite frankly ridiculous.

Accountability is not only crucial for weeding out problems, but it’s important to recognise great ideas and work for motivational purposes. If you recognise excellence as it happens it sets a standard for the whole team to work to and is a morale booster for the individual. It’s a double whammy and needs to be maintained on a consistent basis to ensure standards remain high.

We’re in a fast-paced, modern world. Things change quickly and, as a manager, you need to remain in the loop and lead from the front, rather than reviewing with hindsight. If you know what your team are doing, recognise them and give them feedback throughout the year, the need for back-to-back annual reviews disappears. It’s faster, more efficient and more productive to correct course as events happen rather than pick up the pieces afterwards. Wundamail allows you to keep abreast of what’s going on as it happens without over-monitoring your teams.

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