Behold: the 2-question employee review

Long employee review formats that delve into too much minutiae are inefficient for most companies.

If you’re an HR person, intuition tells you that a longer review is better than a shorter one, because the more information you gather, the more insights delivered. But that’s only true if:

– the reviewing manager knows all facets of the employee’s performance well

– the reviewing manager is able to focus on filling out extensive review forms for each of his/her employees without being distracted by other priorities

Lengthy review formats are like long consumer-product surveys: they may actually generate bogus data. Consider that consumers rarely care about any product as much as marketers think they do, the result being that they are incapable of ranking a paper towel’s nubbiness on a 5-point scale. They just want to finish the damn survey and get on with their lives. The most accurate surveys are the simplest and shortest.

The two most important pieces of feedback about any employee are:

– What is this person’s greatest strength?

– What is this person’s greatest weakness?

Rather than add more questions, allow more people to answer these two questions. Provide a 360-degree review by surveying the employee’s peers and subordinates in addition to his or her manager.

In less time than it takes a single manager to fill out a long review, an employee’s entire circle of co-workers can provide multiple data points on the most relevant and actionable questions.

The employee gains incredibly valuable insights.

The manager gains incredibly valuable insights.

HR has its paper trail.

The best part? A company can conduct a complete 360-degree review of every single employee, from the CEO on down–in a single week.

With barely a blip in reduced productivity.

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