‘Disappointing’ and ‘Ineffective’: Welcome to the World of Performance Reviews, According to Global Professionals Surveyed by Korn Ferry

-- Nearly Half Say Annual Review Has No Impact or Negative Impact on Performance --

-- Largest Percentage Spend 7 Hours or More on Review --

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A new survey of professionals by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) shows that while significant amounts of time and energy are spent on annual performance reviews, they miss the mark for helping employees become better at their jobs.

Of the more than 500 professionals surveyed, 75 percent said they have an annual performance review with their boss.

However, nearly half of respondents (42 percent) said their annual performance review had no impact or was ineffective at improving their professional performance, and 43 percent said it had no impact or was unhelpful at helping them understand what to do more of or differently to improve future performance.

The survey found that “disappointing” was the top word to describe the performance review process.

“Organizations realize that managing business performance is a very dynamic process, so having a once-per-year meeting that hopes to both evaluate and improve performance is a tall ask,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Katie Lemaire. “It is still critical that employees receive regular feedback and companies have the opportunity to re-evaluate their processes.”

The survey found annual performance reviews take a large amount of time, with the largest percentage of respondents saying they spend 7 or more hours on their review.

“It’s critical that managers regularly have conversations about performance throughout the year, which is far more effective in driving performance improvement than trying to have a conversation about what people could or should be doing differently at the same time that you are sharing compensation information with them,” said Lemaire.

Editor’s Note: Survey Results at Bottom of Release

About the Survey – The Korn Ferry survey was conducted in January 2018 and garnered 538 responses.

Survey Responses:


Do you have an annual performance review with your boss?

Yes 75 percent
No 25 percent

How effective is a performance review at improving your professional performance?

Very effective 10 percent
Somewhat effective 48 percent
No impact 28 percent
Somewhat ineffective

6 percent

Very ineffective

8 percent


How useful is a performance review in helping you understand what to do more of, or differently, to improve your future performance?

Extremely useful 30 percent
Somewhat useful 27 percent
No impact 17 percent
Somewhat unhelpful 14 percent
Not helpful at all

12 percent


If you were to use one word to describe your performance review process, what would it be?

Disappointing 36 percent
Inspiring 25 percent
Painful 12 percent
Helpful 27 percent

Taking into account the following steps: developing goals, reviewing them with your manager, and finalizing them, approximately how many hours do you spend on goal setting each year?

Less than an hour 14 percent
1-3 hours 28 percent
4-6 hours 25 percent
More than 7 hours 33 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help companies design their organization – the structure, the roles and responsibilities, as well as how they compensate, develop and motivate their people. As importantly, we help organizations select and hire the talent they need to execute their strategy. Our approximately 7,000 colleagues serve clients in more than 50 countries.

Korn Ferry
Tracy Kurschner, 612-309-3957

Source: Korn Ferry