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Performance Appraisals, Performance Improvement and the Big Disconnect

July 18, 2014

Performance Appraisals are supposed to improve performance.  I mean that’s why we do them, right?  So why do they so often seem like an unpleasant waste of time?  In fact if you reviewed the value of doing performance appraisals, you know, did a performance appraisal on doing performance appraisals, what do you think you would find out?  Keep reading.

Geert Mortier, co-founder of Amplexor, suggests we “Get rid of annual performance appraisals! They affect employees’ morale and teamwork negatively, and can hurt your relationships with your stakeholders. On the other hand he admits “Many employees are unable to achieve their objectives. They know what the key results are, but are confused on how to achieve their goals” and then heads off into suggesting the need for continuous performance feedback.

Before I go on, notice the two, well actually there’s more than two, but the two big assumptions in his article:
1. People fail to achieve their goals or results because they are confused about the “how”.
2. The second assumption is that if people just got continuous performance feedback it would resolve this confusion.

Do you agree with his two assumptions?  Do you agree that performance appraisals should be scrapped.  That they hurt rather than help? A I read it, I kept thinking that you wouldn’t get much done if you were getting continuous feedback, either that or it would be like a nagging headache.  But keep reading and you’ll see more clearly where the big disconnect is.

A study in 2011 by Cornerstone On Demand on performance appraisals and feedback generated the following results:

    • Only 37 percent said they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager/employer;
    • Only 34 percent indicated that they’ve received training and development to help them better perform their job
    • Only 32 percent said that their performance goals are aligned with their company’s business objectives; and
    • Only 20 percent have established career goals with their manager/employer.

It looks pretty apparent, and I bet you can attest to it from first hand experience, that there’s a big disconnect between performance appraisals and what the intended result is, e.g. improving performance.  Roughly 2/3rds of all employees don’t even have the topic of how to improve performance adequately addressed.

Here’s another article that confirms the same disconnect.

The organization, “7 Geese” reported that Annual performance appraisals are dreaded by most employees because they usually do not have an idea on how their performance is being perceived by the managers and their peers, and do not have opportunities to improve. A survey conducted by Society of Human Resource Management asked participants what they wanted out of their performance management systems. The top three answers were highly employee-oriented:

  • Provide information to employees about perceptions of their performance
  • Clarify organizational expectations of employees
  • Provide information to employees about their development needs.



It is time to change and adopt a platform where employees can receive continuous performance feedback to help them complete their objectives”.

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