Are frequent ‘check-ins’ the antidote to performance reviews?

Deloitte has launched a system of quarterly status updates—four-point questions that identify problems and successes and which initiate conversations about workplace issues. Check it out.

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Performance reviews are supposed to keep employees on track.

At many companies, though, they turn into a time-consuming headache full of paperwork and tedious meetings.

Deloitte—which employs tens of thousands of professionals at independent firms worldwide—changed that with a system it launched companywide last summer after a years-long pilot program.

Using frequent, short, informal check-ins, which employees schedule when they want them, Deloitte keeps an open dialogue between employees and their managers. Feedback happens in real time, rather than in huge year-end batches.

The driving philosophy is that after a year, it’s too late to give effective feedback on the small stuff and annual evaluations tend to focus on the past rather than the future.

In contrast, the check-ins are a “forward look at near-term goals,” says Jeff Orlando, chief learning officer for leader development and performance.

“It’s not about someone telling you what you did right or wrong,” he says. “It’s about looking forward and setting yourself up for success.”

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