Your Talent Review Process Lacks Relevancy

Laurie Ruettimann Laurie Ruettimann, Organizational Development, Performance

Some organizations use assessment tools to evaluate and document employee performance and to estimate future potential. These tools — 360 surveys, 9-box grids, crowd-sourcing feedback through a cloud-based mobile tool — are often part of a broader talent review process that can be linked to performance management, succession management, and even compensation.

In some companies, no process happens at all. Employees receive no feedback and don’t understand where they stand in the organization. Line leaders and supervisors can’t encourage personal and professional development in the workforce because they aren’t exactly sure where their employees can go. And promotions and merit increases are random and illogical.

In far too many organizations, an annual review process happens within the rank and file but it is disconnected from the real way talent is evaluated in a company. Your HR team is looking at a 12-box grid and thinking about how it plugs into a merit increase budget; however, your CEO and CFO are trying to determine revenue generated per employee and how to manage for growth and increased productivity while reducing overall organizational costs.

In a previous life, I once managed a talent review process at a small company. The process was called ROYGBIV. We slotted people on a rainbow scale where employees were either high/mid/low and left/right/center. We said that this process had nothing to do with compensation. But once our employees were give a designation on the rainbow, we had to figure out if those employees earned a raise anywhere from 2-6%.

Dehumanizing, no?

I was the Rainbow Brite of the apocalypse.

The talent review process should be valid, transparent, and link professional development with current and future business goals and objectives. And while you may be weary of a process-intensive experience that diminishes the employee experience, I can tell you that you will never be too process-heavy. It’s impossible. In fact, you wish you had too much process.

So whether you’re thinking about high-potential (HiPo) employees — or those who just come to work every day and get the job done — it’s time to start linking your talent review process to real business outcomes.

The days of hyper-obsessing about the distribution in box, or the rainbow grid, are over.