It was my oldest son’s parents night at his school tonight. We had a fair idea what his teacher was going to say about him and his progress. We weren’t disappointed.

The format is simple. You get 10 minutes with the teacher in which time they will go over the your child’s progress (that you have already read the week before) and then you get to ask any questions about your child and identify any area where they can try and make improvements. Fortunately our son is doing great so there was just a couple of minor areas for him to improve on.

If you think the format is familiar then you would be right. Parents night is just the kiddie version of the annual review that many permanent workers go through. However, how is it that organisations can get this wrong when the basic format seems so simple?

I’ve experienced the annual review first hand in a number of companies. Very few of them actually did an annual review on a regular basis and even fewer followed through from the previous annual review.

A neighbour of mine worked in a really well known international bank where annual reviews were not done by your line manager but by someone even higher up. In an organisation such as this where the number of employees runs into thousands, there was a good chance that the person doing your annual review doesn’t even know you to look at. In this case our friend did indeed get their annual review done by a director who had only met him twice. Not exactly a good example of an annual review.

Twice a year my son’s school give a parents night without fail. They provide a report for your child that you get a week before parents night so that you can raise any questions during parents night. They give feedback on your child’s progress and give suggestions on areas where your child can improve. They do it for all the kids in the school. That’s hundreds of kids.

It’s not hard to do.