What is a Modern Performance Review?

It’s no secret that hearing the term “performance reviews” often makes all parties squirm.

And, even when we suggest a more effective, modern approach, we still see a lot of raised eyebrows.

Confusing conversations, inarguable bias, and unclear direction…when considering having conversations with your team, these are a few factors that can make employees uncomfortable and make some employers reconsider conducting performance reviews altogether.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Performance reviews serve a greater purpose than simply telling an employee what they did right, and what they need to improve on. A well-structured, modern performance review should focus on things like retaining your best people, and ensuring they are happy and productive in their roles.

And, to achieve these things, performance reviews should happen more than once a year. It’s time to scrap old-school, dated approaches and modernize your performance reviews.

Read on to find out how we’ve created such an approach that is beneficial for employers and helpful for employees as well!

Why You Need Modern Performance Reviews

You need to conduct modern performance reviews regularly if you want to increase and improve upon the following:

Employee Growth and Productivity

Studies show that approximately 69% of employees would work harder if they received recognition.

This doesn’t mean that you need to high-five them for showing up, but, you do need to communicate with your team and support them! Modern performance reviews can enhance your level of familiarity with your employees. This makes it easier to promote from within, find opportunities for employee development, and build the best workplace environment for your productive A-players.

(With an increase in productivity comes an increase in revenue!)

Additionally, you will save time and money in the long run if you are able to avoid high turnover costs and don’t have to hire externally and train new people.

Cultural Alignment

Winning behaviours will become the norm at your company when everybody is happy, and we know that people are happiest in their roles when they align with workplace culture. Having the right people in the right seats (with the right attitude) will also increase productivity.

Having regular conversations with your team can help foster a winning company culture and keep everybody on the same page. Conducting modern performance reviews will encourage exemplary behaviour and performance year-round.


By giving your employees regular, valuable feedback, they’ll know that you recognize their dedication to your organization, and that you support them.

Because of this, they will not only feel inclined to work harder, but stay at your company longer.

Poorly conducted, old-school annual performance reviews put you at risk of losing some of your best talent!

We recommend that you use your performance reviews as an opportunity to boost traction and to set attainable goals, as well as an incentive to track and monitor progress and have regular two-way discussions.

How to Conduct a Modern Performance Review

We believe that modern performance reviews should feel less like a formal report card, and more like a constructive conversation.

A modern performance review is an evaluation of an employee’s work performance that is conducted on a quarterly basis, rather than annually (which was the less effective, old-school approach).

Here are a few things you can do to prepare for and conduct a great modern performance review:

    • Establish expectations for the employee. This goes back to your talent acquisition strategy, including what’s in your job description, how employees are selected for a role and even your employee handbook.


    • Track progress! This can be done by creating an HRIS that documents how the employee is meeting expectations. By tracking progress, employers can identify areas where the employee needs improvement and provide feedback accordingly.


    • Prepare to provide useful feedback; this is a crucial component of a modern performance review. Employers should provide employees with both positive and constructive feedback in order to help them improve their skills and productivity.


    • Create measurable, attainable goals. You should prepare for your meeting by having these goals in mind and allowing your employee to share their thoughts, too. These goals must be unique for each employee and can be presented for the purpose of increasing productivity, enhancing a skill, hitting a milestone, and as an approach to alternate (or combat) a behaviour.


Remember to keep an open door throughout the year, too. You’re striving to scrap the top-down approach that’s dated and make room for regular conversations, so let your team know that you support them.

Instead of waiting 3 months to discuss a performance issue, we encourage you to have these conversations sooner!

What is a Modern Performance Review?

The purpose of a modern performance review is to assess how well your employee is meeting the expectations set for them. Modern performance reviews provide an opportunity for you and your employee to identify their needs, strengths and areas of improvement, and set goals accordingly.

Performance reviews are also supposed to help you, the employer, ensure that you have the right people in the right seats at your company and gain traction quickly. You’ll also be able to address issues proactively, before they escalate.

Instead of trying to rank employees by metrics and discussing it with them once a year, you’re better served making sure people have the skills to succeed in their role and have regular discussions with you about their performance.

Should Performance Reviews be Tied to Pay?

This question comes up frequently because a direct link from review to compensation is very much the typical flow. Salary increases are important but they should not solely correlate with a good performance review.

It’s not enough for employees to feel that they can only perform well in Q4, and hope that that’s all their manager notices…

…tying salary increases instead to long-term growth and development changes the game: consistent hard work plus the drive to improve and learn leads to rewards.

Compared to previous generations, today’s workforce is more mobile across roles and companies. Regular, modern performance reviews can become a dynamic conversation about growth, which is something modern employees value as a token of success, rather than banking on one annual conversation being their only gateway to a salary increase.

Our Take

There are many flaws with the old-school approach to performance reviews.

Employees have been trained for decades to enter a performance review as though they’re visiting a mall Santa. They’d present a list detailing their deeds and accomplishments throughout the year, and ask for the gift they think they deserve.

This may have worked at a time when employees stayed with the same company for decades and salary increases were the greatest badge of honour for a job well done. But, that is no longer the case with today’s workforce!

Your employees deserve to feel supported and recognized–and they want to know that you’re invested in their growth and development. Additionally, they want to be excited about the work that they do, and align with your company culture.

That is why implementing a modern performance review process is a growth strategy that can help you acquire and retain great employees and increase productivity at your company.

Looking to modernize your company’s approach to performance reviews? We’re here to help. Book a call with us today to learn more about our services!

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