The Trouble With Performance Appraisals In The New Age

performance appraisal

Ahhh.. Good old performance appraisals. Employees and managers alike seem to dread the approaching performance appraisal deadline.

We’ve all been through it. The tension, the stress, the anxiety of waiting. But, at least it’s for a good cause, right? WRONG. With all the time and energy that we pour into our performance appraisals every year, you’d think they served an actual purpose.

The average cost of a performance appraisal per employee sits around $240. This is calculated on the hourly wage of those involved, and doesn’t include the cost to the business of this time wasted.

That expense adds up, so you’d think there should be some great purpose to this whole performance appraisal thing, but bar a legal basis for termination of contract, it has little to no value. And even that rarely holds up in court.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why performance appraisals are becoming outdated, inefficient and completely obsolete.

1 It Doesn’t Assess Performance

Given the name, you’d assume performance appraisals were directly linked to the assessment of your performance, however they rarely have anything to do with performance at all.

Most often these assessments are reviewing personal traits and characteristics. These can indirectly affect your performance, but do not directly influence the work that you’ve done. Very little attention is given to how much an individual has contributed towards projects and goals, which are the things that directly affect your business.

2 Annual Feedback Is Not Enough

In business, the projects you work on are monitored and feedback given on a regular basis. This makes sense, as your employees can never go too wrong before receiving correctional feedback.

When it comes to performance appraisals, feedback is given annually. This isn’t hugely beneficial to employees, who would like to make continuous improvement.

3 Performance Appraisals Are Rarely Data Based

Performance appraisals are rarely based on actually data and statistics from employees’ performance during the year. Often the feedback is subjective, which opens doors to bias or personal opinion that doesn’t always reflect the truth.

“Sally, how do you feel you’ve performed this year?” – Okay, so maybe this isn’t the exact question being posed, but leaving questions open to opinion can make the assessment completely inaccurate and completely worthless.

4 No Accountability

Think back to your school days. Do you remember having to complete tasks that weren’t for marks? I do, I wrote complete and utter rubbish.

Much like the school days, managers are completing employee performance appraisals in a ‘it’s not for marks’ fashion. There is no accountability, no second opinion, and usually not a care in the world.

The fact that performance appraisals are a very secretive matter, means the door is left wide open to favouritism and bias, which should never be welcome in the office.

Should Performance Appraisals Become Null And Void?

That’s a very good question. After explaining how useless they truly are, it’s hard to believe that there is any use for them whatsoever, but alas there is.

In certain environments, employee assessment of this kind can be useful, and help people work together to get along as a team. In these circumstances, performance appraisals and feedback should be managed in an informal manner on a regular basis.

Ways To Make The Performance Appraisals Process More Beneficial

Regular check-ins

Instead of only making use of the once-a-year appraisal, do regular check-ins with your employees a few times a year, so that they can be improving continuously.  

Use Self-Appraisal

Ask your employees to regularly take part in self-appraisals, to evaluate themselves. This encourages them to work at their best at all times.

If you are required to take part in performance appraisals, the guidelines above will help you to get the most benefits out of the process.

But for the most part, there are better ways to give feedback to your employees, and every company should be using a suitable method to do so. This one-size-fits-all method is outdated and better left in the 20th century.

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