Yearly Reviews: The good, the bad and the awkward

Whether you’re for them or against them, chances are you’ll have to go through it sometime either as a manager or employee… or both.

Hugo Froes
2 min readFeb 15, 2023

In most companies there exists some kind of yearly review of how someone has performed and potentially decide whether they should get a raise or promotion.

I’ve gone through the process in various companies over the years and have also worked in companies that didn’t have a formal processes.

Do they need to exist? The argument for is…

  • … we need to have a period to reflect on how someone is doing in the organisation
  • … if we don’t have it, we could forget to ever think about the development of the person
  • … even if I think the person is doing an incredible job, do others in the company feel the same?
  • … if I feel the person is doing a good job, does that align with how they see themselves? Maybe they think they’re doing an exceptional job
  • … financially we need to have a time where we state someone will need to start earning more

The argument against…

  • … they’re just strange and uncomfortable
  • … if my manager doesn’t know how I’m performing and we haven’t discussed it before, we need to reform the relationship, not add a complex process on top
  • … why should I have to wait for a specific time if I’ve already proven my worth?
  • … it removes the soul from the manager/employee relationship

Maybe you can think of a few more arguments for or against.

My Thoughts

  1. They’re practical to set goals and objectives in people’s development. They also help people understand their role responsibilities and expectations
  2. They’re build for a very specific view of expectations
  3. People have different aptitudes that we may not have in the skills framework that are an added value. We should recognise those skills in their development
  4. They should only be used as a baseline. A lot of the work has to be done in the background.

Am I for or against yearly reviews? Yes and No.

At the end of the day it’s not about whether you have a formal or informal process, it’s rather about how you approach it and how you support the people.

We need to be honest and straightforward at all times.

Equally, employees also need to understand that it’s okay to be in the same role for a while. In fact as you progress the levels, you should expect to be at that level longer than the previous level. Things get more complicated and we need to build up knew knowledge and skills.

We all want to do our best at our jobs and help others grow in theirs (hopefully) but we need to work together rather than as a boss/employee.

Originally published at on February 15, 2023.



Hugo Froes

// Leading Product Operations at OLX Motors EU // Helping to make better products — Co-founder of @uxdiscuss with @whitingx