Larry Cipolla
January 28, 2014

As a manager, one of your primary jobs is to make sure that your office is running as smoothly as possible, and to make sure that any resources are being allocated in a way that helps the company. Anything that's sucking up valuable time and energy should be providing a tangible benefit: if it's not, it's time to make a change. Here are five ways that traditional employee evaluations fall short of the mark. 

They're too unfocused. Too many managers have no idea what exactly they want to get out of employee feedback. Is it simply to let everybody know where they stand? Is it just a vestige of antiquated business practices that nobody has had the wherewithal to change? Is it just something to do? Too many performance reviews are conducted between two people who don't know why exactly they're there. 

They don't have actionable takeaways. If neither party has a good idea of what they want to get accomplished, nothing will actually get done. That's why a 360 performance appraisal is so much more valuable than traditional feedback mechanisms. Instead of vague and pointless jargon, both employees and managers get real, valuable insight that helps them move forward productively. 

They're too time-consuming. Your time is a limited, valuable resource and to waste it with meetings that aren't helpful puts a drain on your business. 360 degree feedback gets at the heart of what you want to know, without forcing you to wade through pointless and endless paperwork. 

They're not honest. It's hard to find the line between motivating and demoralizing, and without well-designed assessments, many managers default to bland praise. If you really want to get the most out of your feedback, however, it's important to really ask the questions that matter the most. A checklist of metrics that don't actually correlate to success isn't doing you or your staff any favors. It's just wasting everybody's time. 

They don't yield results. Especially for small companies, that might require a more nuanced understanding of their employees' strengths and weaknesses, an old-school performance review isn't going to cut it. If you really want to suss out how to form your workplace teams and which employees might be right for leadership roles, it's critical to find an assessment that is specifically designed to ask the right questions.