Employee Engagement & Company Culture | TINYpulse

The Fascinating Difference in Performance Reviews Between Generations

Written by Neal McNamara | Mar 4, 2016 1:00:00 PM

You hear it often: people hate going through the performance review process at work. Managers hate how much time it takes, and employees feel stressed going through it. 

Those feelings, however, are imprecise and often based on stereotypes. In an attempt to find out more about attitudes toward reviews, we polled over 1,000 professionals to find out how they feel about the review process. In particular, we wanted to find out how perceptions of performance reviews differ across generations – baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials. Here’s the jist of what we found:

  • 37% of respondents said the performance review process is outdated
  • 42% of respondents felt that something important was left out of their performance review due to bias
  • 41% told us they do NOT receive a pay increase after a positive review
  • 64% said they wanted their review tied to compensation
  • Millennials fear performance reviews the most, while baby boomers are more comfortable with them
  • Millennial respondents were significantly more stressed by the review process than Gen X or baby boomers


Most said that an annual review is best, but 24% said they would prefer a quarterly review. 


Millennials vs. Everyone Else

There's one clear takeaway from the poll: millennials don’t like traditional performance reviews. Compared to other generations, millennials are more likely to fear annual reviews, more stressed out by them, more likely to feel that reviews are biased, and more open to a change in frequency of reviews.

According to Pew, millennials are now the largest demographic group in the workforce, so we believe they will force a change in how organizations conduct reviews. Change will come as millennials attain management-level positions, but also as new technology enables organizations to find new ways to handle reviews. 

24% of millennials fear going into their performance review, compared to 16% of Gen X and 14% of baby boomers.


24% of millennials fear going into their performance review, compared to 16% of Gen X and 14% of baby boomers. 


Millennials want to have their review quarterly (28%) or annually (38%), while baby boomers (58%) prefer the standard annual review.


Millennials are on average more stressed (4.43) about performance reviews compared to Gen X (3.86) (p = .009) and baby boomers (3.44) (p < .001). Measurements on a scale of 1 — 10.