Is It Time To Change Performance Reviews?

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Is It Time To Change Performance Reviews?

Ramin Salehi is an experienced workplace wellbeing assessor and trainer, who has supported many organisations in raising awareness around mental health and employee wellbeing which encourages colleagues to thrive.

In his latest blog he examines how Performance Reviews are conducted in the workplace;

“Do you have Performance Review Fatigue? Are you, like so many of us, asking the question as to why we even need to do these? Are they useful? Is it time well spent? Are they even fit for purpose? All of these are fair questions.

A performance review is meant to identify strengths and weaknesses, offer feedback, and set goals for future performance. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? This sounds like it could be a useful tool to increase motivation and effectiveness in achieving organisational goals. So why is it often met with indifference and negativity, as well as a sense of foreboding for all parties.

Performance reviews may differ from organisation to organisation, but fundamentally they are the same. However, they can be inflexible, onerous, time consuming and more importantly, fail to take into account the whole person or their well-being. Maybe, with this in mind, it’s time to rethink performance reviews?

Typically, performance reviews are structured around meeting individual and organisational targets. However, it is important to remember that performance is both a reflection of what we do and how we think. We cannot separate the mind from the body and in the last two years in particular our mental health and our overall well-being has been stretched beyond measure. This means that our performance is affected. If we then factor in homeworking, office working and shared workplace working, and different styles of working, allied with increased stress and anxiety on a global scale, then we have a multitude of additional factors which impact our overall effectiveness. To then carry out a performance review (1:0), using the old metrics and time-honoured processes leaves us all at a disadvantage. It’s time for Performance Reviews 2:0 – A Whole Person Review.

It may not be too much of a stretch to acknowledge that performance reviews can be a tick box exercise and not seen as vitally important. However, if they are used with the whole person in mind, they can be dynamic and powerful tools for improving well-being and therefore performance. When a manager engages in a performance review fully and starts asking questions outside of performance and tries to understand the whole person, this process can be transformative for all involved and becomes something that is affirming, encouraging and productive.

As such, those that carry out performance reviews would significantly benefit from training around mental health. Typically, mental health/wellbeing in a Performance Review is addressed by a question that we ask at the end and can be summed up in the following scenario, ‘are you ok?’ and is followed by a response similar to this ‘Yes, I’m fine’, and that is it. If asked properly, this should include the intentional creation of a safe environment, asking the right questions, listening non-judgmentally, assessing need, and learning how to identify warning signs and symptoms.

So, let’s start a revolution in Well-being… Let’s start the conversation… ”

If you are interested in finding out more about business-appropriate Whole Person Performance Reviews, contact Ramin via