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Inside UMB: Why annual performance reviews are a thing of the past






SVP/Director of Performance Consulting Kelly Eschweiler shares her expertise on why annual performance reviews are no longer ideal and how UMB is evolving how performance is evaluated.

As the year draws to a close, stress levels seem to rise with holiday shopping, additional social obligations, work pressures, etc. Why should your annual performance review be an added stressor?

Here’s why we think the annual performance review has had its day in the sun and a sneak peek at how we’re treating performance a little differently.

Performance Reviews of the Past

It’s too difficult to remember what you did months ago.

Your annual performance review only comes around … well, annually. To demonstrate you are excelling, you attempt to make a list of your accomplishments. But, wait. What happened months ago? The first quarter of the year is a blur at this point.

Not to mention, you can’t go back in time to correct your mistakes. Everything appears to be going well and then, boom. In your annual review, your manager lets you know he/she was disappointed in your performance on a certain project. Your manager wishes you would have been more proactive about finding solutions or that you would have had better communication with stakeholders. This feedback would have been much more meaningful in the moment.

“I didn’t receive the rating I thought I would.”

There’s no reason your manager’s evaluation should come as a surprise. Most people crave feedback. We like to know what others think about us, what we’re doing well and what we can improve. At work, your manager’s feedback is important to your career growth and personal development, so why only hear it once per year?

And let’s not forget managers like feedback too. Does your manager lack clarity when giving instructions? Does he/she take too long to respond to questions? The people most in-tune with how managers can improve are their teams.

It’s hard to sleep the night before.

We all want feedback, but receiving it can be nerve-wrecking, especially when it only happens annually. Leading up to the annual performance review, many people start to wonder, “What rating will I receive? Does my manager think I did okay this year? Did my manager evaluate me as highly as I evaluated myself?”

Performance Reviews of the Future

More frequent.

At UMB, we’ve done away with annual performance reviews. Associates and their managers meet regularly throughout the year to set short-term goals that add up to long-term accomplishments. These conversations are an opportunity for associates and managers to review what’s working well, what challenges exist and any changes to consider since their previous conversation.

In addition, regular performance conversations enable managers to better understand associates’ personal goals, work styles and motivators. This approach provides more opportunities than ever for associates to share their success.

Two-sided.

It’s time for performance conversations to be natural, two-way dialogues instead of going through a checklist or scripted questions. All associates, managers included, deserve candid and timely feedback.

Instead of being assigned goals with a specific rationale, exact measurements and a concrete timeline, UMB associates have more flexibility in how expectations are determined and tracked. Associates and managers work together to establish a format that works best and a shared understanding of what success looks like.

Less intimidating.

As performance conversations happen more often, they become less complicated and more comfortable. Your performance is more than just the work you do; it also includes your skills and behaviors, your ability to collaborate and how well you communicate.

We believe performance should still be closely tied to compensation, but the way that works shouldn’t grow stale. Instead of focusing on “what is achieved,” we also talk about “how you achieved it,’ because our associates are more than a rating.

Interested in learning more about the associate experience at UMB? Gain insight into life at UMB or view our current career opportunities. Want to keep in touch about future opportunities? Become a UMB Insider.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s Web site and go to Web sites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other Web sites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.