Like so many other processes in business, performance appraisals can be a terrific forum for review, development and communication.
On the other hand, they can be a 'tick the box' exercise that is relatively meaningless.
Here are some of the reasons why appraisals can often be meaningless
They refer to things which are no longer relevant
And here's why appraisals can be useful
They offer support and motivation
Not too difficult to see where the difference lies.
We've gone into many an organisation where everyone is just about to go through the 'appraisal process'.
Often there's an atmosphere of slight panic, uncertainty, anxiety and sometimes there's the complete opposite: boredom.
Rarely have we had the experience of people looking forward to their appraisal and feeling that good use will come of it.
That's usually because there hasn't been adequate Performance Management along the way and everything gets stored up for a half-hour or hour-long appraisal meeting once or twice a year.
A lot may ride on someone's appraisal (their pay review, for one), and yet insufficient time and effort usually goes into them.
We realise we're being critical, but in most cases, quite honestly, for appraisal processes to work successfully something different needs to be done.
The something different isn't even difficult.
You just need to make sure that whatever is agreed to, whatever support is offered, whatever training needs are identified, whatever targets are set, there is thorough and adequate follow-through.
Sounds good, doesn't it!
Follow-through means commitment, and commitment gives appraisals value.
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