Performance appraisals are they a waste of time?

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

There has been a lot of online discussion in recent months regarding performance appraisals and the fact that they are a waste of time and de-motivating. I think it is important to clarify that these opinions relate to performance appraisals that focus on assessing past performance by providing employees with a score or assessment of what has or hasn’t been achieved in a prior period.

It is worth considering these opinions, but there are some fundamental principles that should not be discarded. Firstly employees deserve to know when they have done a good job, this doesn’t need to be in a formal performance review – it should be happening as a function of day to day management. The same applies to under performance, don’t wait for an annual performance meeting to raise these issues. Employees generally appreciate honest and constructive feedback and if there is something that they can improve, an informal conversation will often result in expectations being met.

So, should performance appraisals be given the flick? I would suggest that it is simply a case of changing the focus. If management are effective in their day to day interactions with their staff performance won’t need to be assessed annually. Alternatively, look forward not back, make it an opportunity to discuss career and professional development with employees, review the strategic direction of the business and set some goals that will result in the achievement of the outcomes relative to the functional area – touching base regularly to ensure progress is being made offering advice, encouragement and praise when goals are reached.

Organisations are becoming more and more innovative about how they achieve the benefits of regular discussions around employee performance…. Are you thinking outside the square?