The Changing Landscape of Performance Assessments: What You Need to Know

May 27, 2015

changing landscape performance assessments

For years, the standard performance assessment for most employers has been the annual review. While they still have merit, recent AMA research at the Training 2015 Conference and Expo and the ATD 2015 International Conference and Expo provided evidence that the traditional performance assessment may be on its way out, and other assessments are becoming more popular.

At the Training 2015 Conference and Expo, survey respondents were asked a variety of questions regarding various aspects of training and training measurement. One of the most revealing answers was that only 50% of professionals use measurable performance results, such as increased sales and other metrics, to measure the effectiveness of training. Instead, training professionals favored less formal opinion-based feedback, such as employee evaluations (73%).  Other opinion-based measurements were manager evaluations (40%) and 360 degree feedback (31%), and while they are less popular than measurable performance results, further research shows that they have earned a place in the assessment conversation.

The next study conducted at the ATD 2015 International Conference and Expo asked respondents a series of questions regarding assessments and performance. Much like the Training survey, the answers pointed towards a new trend in assessments in the workplace. One question asked survey takers to respond to a statement about whether different types of assessments added value to individual and organizational performance. The option “annual performance review” received the lowest response, with only 75% of respondents believing that this assessment adds value. In comparison, respondents believed that “self-rated competency” (85%), “360 degree” (89%), and “personality” (88%) assessments were all more useful. The answers to this question correspond with the findings of the training survey.  Despite 360 degree reviews being very time consuming, their approval rate indicates that they could be a wise choice for selective implementation.

Finally, a second question in the survey at ATD 2015 asked employees to rate their satisfaction with their organization’s annual employee assessment process. Only 37% said that they were at least somewhat satisfied, while 30% were neutral, and 33% were dissatisfied. As the landscape of performance assessments continues to shift, employers would be wise to review their current methods and seek to find the best possible option. Employees need to know where they can improve, and it is a manager’s job to help them grow their skills and enhance their performance.

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About The Author

Chris Brown is a content marketing coordinator at the American Management Association. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Marketing and a minor in Italian.

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