Thursday, January 22, 2009

Performance Appraisals: Stay or Go?

I have been giving some thought lately to the value of performance appraisals as I am in the middle of redesigning a few as we speak. Over the last few months there have been many blogs and articles written on the need to get rid of performance appraisals. Samuel Colbert, from the Wall Street Journal wrote on article back in October 2008, entitled, "Get Rid of the Performance Review." (I would link but you have to be a subscriber).

His reasons for getting rid of appraisals and my comments follow:

1) Two people-two mind-sets: I agree the boss is the reviewer and the employee is sometimes on the defensive. Can you say training and set expectations?

2) Objectivity is Subjective: I agree that there is a lot of subjectivity that CAN plaque appraisal feedback. However, if the managers are trained and the form has been designed properly with expected behaviors and job related competencies then that reduces subjectivity.

3) One size does not fit all: I agree with this so make sure performance appraisals are job specific meaning you probably need more than one form for all employees.

4) Personal Development is impeded: I disagree. Colbert thinks the manager gets in the way of development because he knows the weaknesses of the employee. I think most managers want their employees to be more productive, so pointing out career development is on their best interest.

5) Disruption to teamwork: Maybe. If you have true teams in the workplace then make sure team members have the ability to rate each other's performance and part of the rating includes ability to function and perform in a team.

He goes on to say that appraisals do not lead to improvement. I say they can if they are done correctly but that sure does take a lot of work. Now is not the time to get rid of appraisals. We have to be more focused on performance today than we have ever been.
His answer: A performance PREVIEW that focuses on the future instead of a performance REVIEW that focuses on the that is interesting...thoughts???
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