Check-in for coaching and feedback? A recent article said that annual performance reviews were traditional and old news. Is this a new approach to coaching and feedback? This weekend’s Guardian (3 February) included a supplement on smart employers and workplace wellbeing that included an article by Tina Nielsen about companies that have stopped using annual performance reviews. The article described Adobe’s “check-in” process.
A model for coaching & feedback
Watching the clip of Adobe’s previous system it appears that Adobe’s old process had been a painful, annual rating exercise. The Check-in process includes 3 elements. These are supported by guides that set out effective discussions. The 3 elements include: –
1) Expectations where managers set clear expectations around deliverables, contributions, and behaviour to help employees achieve their business and personal goals.
2) Feedback in which managers and employees give each other ongoing, constructive feedback. Employees see how they’re progressing against the expectations, and managers find out if they should be doing anything differently to better support their employees.
3) Development employees drive their own growth by creating actionable career development goals around learning and experience.
Further information is available from Adobe’s website.
Adobe say that they have moved away from the scrutiny of a ‘all or nothing’ annual rating exercise. This also moves it away from an uncomfortable pass/fail process and instead supports a culture that is looking to coach and improve. The Adobe process is said to have saved “thousands of hours” spent by managers and employees on reviews.
One reason for the claimed savings may be that managers and employees now share common understanding and expectations. There is a benefit from having a straight forward structure for discussions. Both managers and employees have a clear model to follow and work with.
This model provides a useful example to compare with your own processes. It may be that this is what you have already have. It is good to stand back and look at other approaches. One question that comes to mind is how practical is a this process that doesn’t use ratings or ranking? Adobe have an annual Reward Check-in for “merit raises, bonuses, and limited equity are awarded”.
Good practice elsewhere is that regular monthly one to one meetings and quarterly discussions of development provide a simple structure. ACAS provide advice on staff appraisals that includes objective setting, reviewing performance and development together with one to one management skills.
The conclusion here is that relationships, including working relationship benefit from clear understanding. What is expected? How are things going? What do I want and where do I want things to go? The model provided is worth thinking about rather than relying on the same old thing.