Management Blog

The Myth of Performance Appraisal

It’s time for taking stock of what you have done, where we have excelled and what could have been done etc. Every corporate houses will have this exercise in some form or the other. Traditionally, it’s known as “Performance Appraisal”. Many HR Professionals would have came across certain “qualifications” from employees or line managers regarding this exercise. Lets’ try to decode a few of them.

Adobe, Accenture and all progressive companies already done away with performance appraisal. More over the age old “Bell Curve”!. Why are you insisting it still?

It’s good that you keep tab on industry updates. But don’t get satisfied with peripheral knowledge. Any progressive organization decided to scrap the traditional performance appraisal method would have tried out various modes of performance appraisals in past. They might have evolved to a level at which annual appraisal method as we know is being replaced with real time performance indicators visible to all stake holders. Force fitting / Bell Curve etc. are having it’s own utility where in performance appraisal is being implemented in a formalized fashion for the first time. It brings in a discipline and slowly these directive methodologies can be scrapped.

Simply doing away with performance appraisal won’t make your company Adobe or Accenture overnight.

HR Department is giving us additional job during the time of closure of sales, accounts and other activities. Why should we do HR job leaving our core deliverable?

That’s blasphemous to disown your own team members. It’s a myth if anyone believe that performance appraisal is HR job. It’s rather a manager’s (or leader’s) responsibility to own his / her team, engage in meaningful performance dialogue, motivate and support them to go extra mile.

If anyone consider it as an exercise imposed by HR, you are unbecoming a leader. HR role is to design system, define deliverable expected out of all and ensure process compliance.

 There is no point in doing this exercise. Finally rewards are being determined by subjectivity and more over by someone else.

This is age old excuse like “How many people died out of cancer though they never smoked? So, let me smoke”.  Of course, there would be some element of truth regarding this comment if an organization do not initiate systems and processes to eliminate subjectivity. But yet, not participating wholeheartedly in an appraisal process won’t be a solution to this grievance.

If a line manager conducts appraisal and present facts and figures in a systematic manner, that itself will contribute toward ensuring sanity in the entire process. Once when someone decide to be clinical or non-participating, that would lead to undesirable situations.

If certain departments stick to the timelines of completion of exercise, this simply mean that they don’t have much work to do. We could not complete the exercise as there are lots to do in our platter.

Well that’s being cruel. Those who completed exercise on time are those leaders who gave prime importance to their team and they have reserved time for this activity. If you could not keep up to their spirit, try not to qualify those who are compliant.

There would be lot many other statements which also warrants response and meaningful debates. But let’s restrict to a few common representing comments. Not to forget, an HR professional shall also have larger responsibility to address these challenges with his / her professional acumen. A few advisories for them are

  • Never get perturbed with any qualifications. Its people business and one shall have the quality to be restraint and engage in meaningful dialogue. Many times, you shall act a patient teacher who are having set of professionally qualified students with their own set of doubts.
  • Do not give over emphasis on documentary part of appraisal and concentrate more on engaging in dialogue with line managers regarding the method of appraisal, anticipated benefits etc.
  • Ensure line managers are being provided with proper training regarding how to conduct appraisal.
  •  If there are any systemic changes required in the entire methodology, do not hold on to the existing method and be open to come up with best practices.
  •  Every organization got it’s own level of evolution in terms of systems and processes. HR professional shall design performance appraisal which is apt for the organization rather than simply mimicking any successful model in some other companies

Remember – What you are today is due to the decisions you took yesterday. Decide wise or not? Choice is yours. This “choice” is the sole opportunity for you.



2 thoughts on “The Myth of Performance Appraisal”

  1. Mukesh Kanojia says:

    I totally agree with the points mentioned above. Employees don’t hate having their performance appraised. No, indeed! They want to know how they are doing, if their efforts are meeting the needs of colleagues, customers and the company, and where they could do better. But they do hate the annual performance review process…

    1. Sajith Nair says:

      @Mukesh – thanks for your visit and comments
      Probably – onus goes back to HR Professionals also where in they treated this as a routine process rather than giving it importance of an organization transformation intiative

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *