The "New Now" Performance Review - Gi Group

01 April 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

The China-Italy Chamber of Commerce is glad to share an article published by its Member Gi Group:


After a turbulent 2020 here we are, in the first quarter of 2021, at the fateful moment of Performance Review. An event that, after the recent unexpected changes of the labor market, this year will go back to its origins by focusing more on the person and his development than on numbers.

A performance review, or performance evaluation, is a formal assessment by which the job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. A traditional performance review consists mostly of a manager’s evaluation of an employee’s work, on progress towards agreed-upon goals, working styles and efficiencies, workplace behavior, growth opportunities. The manager identifies strengths and weaknesses of the employee, offers feedback, sets goals for future performance and has the chance to recognize high performing employees, correct issues, communicate expectations, encourage growth and development, and foster employee engagement. On the other hand, with an excellent performance review, the employee can better understand what he’s doing well in, how he can improve more, how his work aligns with larger company goals, and what is expected of him.

The frequency and depth of the review process depends on the company size and goals of the evaluations. In the past, performance reviews were conducted annually for the entire workforce; however, more and more companies are moving towards a more frequent feedback performance management system with quarterly or monthly reviews, or even informal weekly one-on-ones.

Following the evolution of modern HR practices, many companies do not limit the performance evaluation to the “leader opinion” but choose to get feedback from all levels within the organization. For example, through self-evaluation and bottom-up feedback.

In self-evaluations, employees have the opportunity to reflect on their own strengths, weaknesses, and progress to goals. The recognition of self-evaluations tells employees that their voice is valued and gives them a sense of ownership in their performance.

The bottom-up feedback practice invites employees feedback on the leadership team, giving them a voice in the review process and helping the company identify and correct managerial errors. Of course employees must feel their feedback will not be used against them and managers need to react encouraging honesty and authentic criticism.

Quantitative indicators on 2020 results are probably not lenient but with a few, so, in this “new now”, it’s very important to approach a performance review from a different point of view, not only based on the quantitative results but also on the effective quality contribution of the employee on the work of last year.

To evaluate such contribution you may consider who tried to understand the needs of his colleagues and then translated them into work methods applicable by the whole team, the employees who adjusted their usual working and communication methods to a context in which collaborating and sharing information was fundamental but not easy. Think of those who made their potential skills and resources available not only to do their "normal" work, but also to create new ways of working effectively together and did so even in those days when they were not at their best, maybe concerned about the unstable social moment.

But how to make a performance review an effective tool for your employees?

First of all, your feedback has to be constructive, you must point positive behavior and give clear directions with specific recommendations for improvement. At the same time, looking for something positive to say, do not give false praise that could mislead an employee into thinking they are doing better than they are and rob them of the opportunity for enhancement. Another mistake would be raising hopes for a raise or promotion that may not be possible, that would cause unnecessary speculation and disappointment.

Criticism is necessary but better if supported by a concrete example, this method can help an employee better his performance rather than leave him feeling defensive.

Whilst giving your feedback focus only on the performance of the employee you are evaluating and do not do comparisons in order to not put colleagues against each other. Also, avoid repetitive commentary: if you find you are giving the same advice and same praise in every performance review, maybe the message isn’t getting through in the way you are currently sharing it and needs further discussion.

Finally, no matter what feedback you want to give your employees, the advice is to use a lot more words than numbers this year. To face the challenges of 2021, treasure the past experiences, let your collaborators tell you what last year has meant for them.

People remain people even in times of change and as such they always need to know that they are developing skills that serve in the new context, to know that they are required and that they have made a contribution, to feel recognized for both efforts and results and to be encouraged to continue to evolve.


Gi Group

Gi Group is one of the world’s leading companies providing services for the development of the labour market. The Group is active in the fields of temporary and permanent staffing, search and selection, HR consulting and training, as well as in a variety of complementary activities.


Kind Regards

The CICC Team

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