Performance Appraisals are Worse Than a Waste of Time

Appraisals are a waste of Time

Most British workers will certainly leave their appraisal fired up and motivated, but only to look for a new job, new research from workplace and HR body Investors in People has concluded. Nearly half of those who had an appraisal did not trust their managers to be honest during it, with a third dismissing the annual chat as a waste of time and a fifth leaving it feeling they had been unfairly treated.

The poll of nearly 3,000 workers also found a quarter who had had an appraisal suspected their managers simply saw the annual review as a “tick-box” exercise. And a fifth complained managers rarely prepared for the meeting in advance – a key bit of advice you’ll always get in appraisal training – and did not even think about it until they were actually sat down in the room.

That is just a start on the problems with annual rating of people. On page 101 of Out of the Crisis Dr. W. Edwards Deming states the following as one of the seven deadly diseases:

Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review… The idea of a merit rating is alluring. the sound of the words captivates the imagination: pay for what you get; get what you pay for; motivate people to do their best, for their own good. The effect is exactly the opposite of what the words promise.

Related: Dr. Deming on performance appraisalContinuous, Constructive FeedbackPerformance without AppraisalRighter Performance AppraisalThe Leader’s Handbook

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4 Responses to Performance Appraisals are Worse Than a Waste of Time

  1. Rob says:

    This confirms what I’ve believed all along that appraisals are damaging to employee motivation. As a manager you should coach and help your team as part of a continuous process, not a one off event. Why wait a year to tell someone they are doing a poor job – regular feedback is the key!

  2. Bill Harris says:

    John, I think my article called “Accountability, systems, and loop gain“may relate to the issue you’re describing.

  3. Pingback: Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog » Carnival of Human Resources #23

  4. As someone who has recently completed a series of Performance Appraisals I confirm the difficulties.

    We are dealing with people’s egos here, our own included. In a War for Talent market like China the power is
    all in the staff member’s hands and the level of ‘preciousness’ is very high. High maintenance is not
    adequate to describe the behaviors.

    Managers think they can evaluate people who resist evaluation. They can’t. There is always a
    better job around the corner and some seemed to express the attitude that the company is lucky they tolerate
    its foibles.

    I tiptoed around on egg shells for three days ….. Not doing that again.

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