“That” time of the year…

How often is performance review conducted in your organization? Once a year? Twice a year? Monthly? Weekly…or?
For ‘travel-deprived’ reasons, I am reminded of my trip to Egypt in Feb 2020, with a family and friends’ group of 15. We were at the Great Giza Pyramids, where almost everyone excitedly arranged to personally ride a camel, without a Guide. Confession – I cannot even ride a bicycle, so I insisted a Guide will need to take the reins of my camel. It was exhilarating! Once we were off the camel, my Guide, Hassan, asked me how the ride was and whether I had enjoyed it. What would Hassan have appreciated more? To get my WhatsApp feedback 6 months or a year later, or an immediate feedback on his performance? That ride was a triumph for me, so I thanked Hassan animatedly for being so patient despite my not-so-muted shrieks; and added that it was indeed memorable with the 3 Great Pyramids in view. I then handed him a token for his attentive services.
What Hassan did was nothing different from what employees would expect – feedback on performance. At one of my earliest workplaces, there was no performance review of any kind. You just had to ‘feel’ how you had performed, based on your salary increment, or the promotion, and sometimes by tuning in to ‘corridor murmurs’. This changed over time with different employers, where it went from having informal conversations, to a more planned, structured annual review.
Typically, line managers would feedback on the performance of their direct reports for a pre-determined time period. Although, variations of the appraisal now include anything from ad-hoc check-ins to quarterly and half-yearly reviews, a recent survey by XpertHR amongst 344 employers in the US reported that ‘the annual performance review still reigns supreme’ amongst 63% of the responding organizations. Twice a year reviews came in a distant second with 18% of the responding organizations.
Having been on both sides of the performance review, I am divided, when asked, which of the two, is a more anxiety-inducing experience – doing a performance appraisal or being appraised. What’s your take?

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