Performance appraisals: to have or not to have?

13 February 2024 / Insight posted in Article

Some say the appraisal is dead, but is a lack of training to blame?

Performance appraisals for employees have taken a fair amount of critique over the years, and whether it’s worthwhile to have an appraisal process has been up for debate for some time, with headlines announcing that the appraisal is dead.

The principles behind an annual appraisal are still valid. Having an open quality discussion about performance, goal setting and tracking, and receiving constructive feedback are all vital for performance improvement. The frequency of the reviews is shifting, with a trend towards a more frequent feedback loop in place of an annual appraisal. We’ve seen an uptick in clients wishing to implement a hybrid performance appraisal process and appraisal training to facilitate these conversations.

The key is giving appraisers the confidence to hold good quality discussions with their team members through training.

An appraisal process without training is like having a car and not knowing how to drive it. The method and outcome are still highly effective with quality training and manager development around goal setting, how to give quality feedback, coaching techniques and career conversations.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to performance appraisals, and how they work depends on the type of work and culture in the organisation.

What to consider for appraisals

  • Should we have performance ratings?
  • Should there be a direct link to pay? If so, are appraisers well equipped to hold conversations about pay and how it is determined?
  • Should we include peer feedback?
  • Should we include and review behaviours based on our organisational values?
  • Should there be a ‘calibration’ element to review ratings (if we have them)?
  • How often should we hold review meetings?
  • Should we invest in an online system to record and track performance?
  • Who should be appraising who?
  • Should we call it an ‘appraisal’ or something else?

We support clients in answering these questions by building fit-for-purpose performance appraisal processes that work for them, often involving employees in the design.

Performance appraisals aren’t dead; they are just being refined!

Contact us for a free consultation on your appraisal process or appraisal training needs.  Click here to see our upcoming ‘Successful performance management and appraisals’ training dates.

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