Are traditional annual performance reviews losing value?

07 June 2016

The traditional annual performance review may be falling out of favour with business leaders. Research by leading global recruitment company Robert Half confirms that more than one in three (36%) Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) don’t believe annual performance reviews are necessary in today’s workplace. 

In today’s fast-paced commercial environment only 11% of finance leaders believe employees want to receive feedback annually. The majority say their staff would prefer feedback on a more regular basis: 26% believe employees would like monthly feedback, 14% point to weekly feedback and another 14% see value in providing immediate feedback on the spot.

The larger the business, the greater the preference for annual reviews. More than seven out of ten (72%) CFOs of large1 organisations favour an annual performance review compared to 55% of medium-sized businesses and 52% of small business organisations.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Business organisations need to understand the importance of performance management, which is a fundamental aspect of any Human Resources policy. Performance management, if done efficiently and empathetically, can not only create a corporate culture that promotes individual growth and success, but it can also be an efficient way to improve staff efforts and to keep employees engaged and loyal.” 

“However it doesn’t all hinge on annual performance reviews. There are other ways to keep staff engaged and motivated, and businesses need to be prepared to think outside the square in order to gain the best results, and loyalty, from their people.”  

Looking beyond the performance review

Companies can use a variety of strategies to keep employees motivated, engaged and loyal to the company. 

More than half (53%) of Australian CFOs believe employee training opportunities can be effective in keeping employees engaged and motivated, followed by 44% who see one-on-one discussions as being a source of motivation. Another 40% say encouraging employees to offer suggestions – and putting their ideas into practice – can be a powerful motivator. 

Interestingly, just over one in three (36%) refer to salary increases and bonuses as an efficient motivator.

Other initiatives (beyond performance reviews) that can motivate and engage employees

  Overall Small Medium Large
Training opportunities 53% 42% 52% 64%
One-on-one discussions geared toward career development 44% 43% 43% 45%
Getting employees to contribute their ideas and implementing them 40% 36% 44% 40%
Providing salary increases and bonuses 36% 25% 41% 42%
Employee recognition programs and awards 17% 11% 19% 21%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 Australian CFOs and finance directors – multiple answers allowed.

David Jones concluded: “No matter what the format is, employer feedback is always beneficial to staff career development and advancement. Receiving feedback is not only motivating, but by identifying areas for improvement, employees know what to work on in order to further develop their career thereby also increasing their market value.”


1Company Size Definitions
Number of staff in the respondent's business

Small 50 - 149 staff
Medium 150 - 499 staff
Large 500+ staff


About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm, surveying 300 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and finance directors in Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

Contact Us


Gabrielle Nagy  
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
Tel: 02 8028 7751
Email: [email protected]

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