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Five reasons you can’t afford to skip performance reviews — even in a bad economy

It may have crossed your mind to skip or postpone performance reviews this year – as the business landscape keeps changing, the goals you made 12 months ago may seem unrealistic, or perhaps your organization has a freeze on salary increases.

But no matter how bad the economy is, you cannot afford to miss giving feedback to your people.

Here are five compelling reasons why.

  1. Simple legalities. You expect your employees to live by the handbook? Then so should management. If you have a written policy committing to an annual review, then provide the review. Skipping it means risking your reputation in court against a dismissed worker, who may portray the skipped review as a sign of poor management or bad communication.
  2. Retain top talent. In tough times, you need your best people more than ever. Instead of avoiding their review because of economic turmoil, make a point of meeting with them and letting them know how much you appreciate them, even if the salary and bonus situation is not what it once was.
  3. Put underperformers on warning. You can’t afford to have poor performers on board, so use the review as a chance to help them grow into a productive member of the team, or set the stage for their departure.
  4. Re-align employees with the big-picture goals. Reviews aren’t just for the employees; they’re also a great time to revisit the company’s larger goals and make certain that the work being done reflects them.
  5. Prepare for future difficulty or change. If the time should come in the future for a sale of the business, or a mass layoff, having recent, reliable documentation on hand will streamline the process. Same goes if new leadership is brought aboard.

No matter how rocky the economic outlook, your employees deserve to have a formal check-in on their progress. Plus, many aspects of the performance review directly benefit management (it’s not just handing out raises!). So don’t even consider skipping this important step, no matter how much you may be dreading performance review time in a bad economy. Evaluations can actually help you with your goals for the organization!
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