No more annual reviews

No more annual reviews

Annual reviews don't improve client and patient services, so get rid of them and implement daily previews instead
Oct 01, 2010

Managers, have you ever had anything good come of doing a performance appraisal? The answer is, of course, 'no' ... unless you count the pleasure of a few weeks of employees going out of their way to be excruciatingly conscientious and helpful. And that is what undermines the whole process—those sneaky employees being conscientious and helpful just before appraisal time.

—Dale Dauten, business author and lecturer

The consequences of the delayed review undermine a basic tenet of productive and effective practices: happiness. (Mike Kemp/Getty Images)
A decade ago, as a practitioner and employer, I undertook a project to evaluate Dauten's idea with my consulting clients and my own employees. My results revealed that Mr. Dauten is right on.

We have focused so much attention on the annual review process that we have forgotten its purpose: to improve client and patient services. So let us say goodbye to the heretofore-all-important annual review and discover a useful alternative.

What doesn't work

The annual review process is such a staple in our profession that the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) includes it as part of its standards. But problems pop up in the pattern of annual reviews. Specifically, once-a-year reviews delay dealing with pressing issues.

We say, "OK, we will bring that up at the annual review," make a note of it, file it and forget it. Issues that need to be addressed continue to fester. The individual who needs adjustment continues unabated. As other team members' frustration sets in, unhappiness becomes an undercurrent. Sniping is heard, the body language of discontent emerges and eye rolling is seen.

Unaddressed stressors are one reason for high turnover at veterinary clinics. Good employees leave, while those causing problems don't have a clue. The consequences of a delayed review undermine a basic tenet of productive and effective practices: happiness.