15Five: An Answer to the Performance Review

Posted by | October 03, 2013 | Uncategorized | One Comment

Performance Review

Performance Management, Performance Appraisals, Performance Reviews — their mere mention often evokes shudders and pangs of anxiety. Whether they are an annual or semi-annual occurrence, it doesn’t matter, because performance reviews are never conducted frequently enough to be beneficial for all affected parties. The top two Google Search results regarding performance review effectiveness are: Eliminate Performance Appraisals – Forbes and Performance Reviews: Many Need Improvement – New York Times. There have always been water-cooler conversations about the ineffectiveness of performance reviews, and now this topic has taken center stage as influencers in the HR space have made their views public. Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, wrote an article about the death of performance appraisals that describes in detail the disadvantages and low ROI associated with this practice. Their five-year study, including over 100 companies, indicated that businesses are ready to scrap the entire process.

So, what is the answer? 

Bersin highlights many new keys to success, but the most important one focused on discussing performance on a regular basis. Employees’ performance should be discussed frequently, their strengths and weaknesses should not be a surprise. No one wants to discover in their annual review that they messed up on a project five months ago. Imagine the nosedive that employee engagement would take after that conversation. Plus, consistent lack of transparency and real-time feedback could potentially lead to a high turnover rate, which is something that companies definitely want to avoid.

RBM has decided to try something new. One month ago we implemented the use of 15five, an emerging employee engagement tool . The whole process is extremely simple. Employees fill out a weekly report that takes about 15 minutes and their managers take 5 minutes to review. This allows managers to stay current on their employees’ successes, challenges, new ideas and most importantly, morale. This tool requires very little effort, but allows everyone (even the CEO!) to stay informed about what’s happening on a very regular basis, which is an issue in many organizations.

After a few weeks of usage, RBM sent out an employee survey to gather feedback on 15five and its effectiveness. We experienced an 85% response rate with a 4.09/5 rating for this tool, and collected some helpful suggestions from the team that we will be implementing soon.

We’re not saying that 15five is the end-all replacement of performance reviews, but when combined with other practices it may just work! At RBM we conduct short, weekly check-ins that follow a structured agenda with goal setting and tracking, career development and honest, open conversation between managers and employees. This creates a much healthier work environment. Remember, constant communication is key!


I’d love to hear about what your company practices. Please comment below or tweet us @redbricksmedia

~ Lisa Wong is the Senior Operations Manager at Red Bricks Media

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