CIOs Need To Forget The Yearly Reviews – Do It Monthly!

Feedback sessions need to be done more often with younger IT workers…
Feedback sessions need to be done more often with younger IT workers…

A part of a CIO’s job is to let those people who report to him or her know how they are doing. At most companies, this is done once a year during an annual employee review. I’m not sure about you, but have you ever asked yourself if this is the best way to do this kind of thing? In the age of Facebook and Twitter, maybe it’s time to do these kind of reviews more often…

How Most Companies Do Employee Reviews

Sure employee reviews are a good thing to do, but how are they done? Last time I checked, this kind of soft skill wasn’t part of any definition of information technology. Well, I’m sure that you’re aware of how they are done at your IT department, but do you know how they are done at other companies?

Assuming that you are a CIO at a fairly typical company, then you probably do employee reviews once a year. Guess what – that’s how most companies do them. In a recent survey, 51% of the 500 companies surveyed said that they do these types of reviews annually. 41% of the firms said that they do them semi-annually.

How Progressive Companies Do Employee Reviews

How about all of those fancy new-fangled firms that we are always reading about in the IT trade rags – how often do they do employee reviews? At the leader of the pack (for now), Facebook, they do employee reviews twice a year.

Some progressive firms have increased the frequency to as often as every two weeks. Their thinking is that by doing this they transform what is often a big scary meeting into something that is much more common and, hopefully, useful to the both the employees and their bosses.

What’s The Right Way To Do an Employee Review?

A number of consultants have pointed out that the frequency of employee reviews doesn’t really matter if you are doing these types of reviews wrong! They point out that if you flood the employee with too much information there is a good chance that they’ll simply shut down during the meeting.

When this happens, the review won’t produce the results that you are looking for. Instead what often happens is that the employee just ends up focusing on the criticism and ignores any suggestion of constructive ways that they can become better.

No matter how often as CIO you choose to do employee reviews, you need to realize that this is an important part of your job. Being in regular communication with your staff is how you find out about small issues before they have a chance to grow into big issues that can end up distracting people and wasting time for everyone.

What All Of This Means For You

I think that we can all agree that much like the importance of information technology, employee reviews are important to the running of an IT department. IT workers who report to the CIO need to get feedback on their job performance. The big question is if getting this feedback once a year is the right way to do it.

At most companies, the employee review is an annual event. However, at a number of progressive firms in the IT sector it has been changed. Reviews are now done more often and are done much quicker. The goal is to provide feedback to the employee so that they can start to use the information as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, no matter how often employee reviews are held, the key is to make sure that the information that the IT worker gets is useful. CIOs need to make sure that they don’t overwhelm their staff with too much feedback that causes them to shut down and only focus on the negative. Become a CIO who knows when and how to provide employee feedback, and you’ll be rewarded with a great IT department working for you.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it would be possible to do employee reviews too often?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The one thing that everyone in IT has learned is to stay away from projects that we just know are going to fail, right? It turns out that over in England, they seem to have forgotten this rule. They decided to do a huge IT project to modernize their health care system and guess what, it just failed. Sounds like a great learning opportunity for CIOs…