Intellectually, everyone gets the value of performance appraisals. Yet every client I’ve ever encountered usually bemoans the process and most employees criticize the appraisals. Why is something that should have so much value end up being so belittled?
Organizations do lots of things wrong when it comes to reviews. There is a tendency to spring the final evals on employees as a surprise. I have lost count of the number of people who told me that they came out of their appraisal session in shock—having heard things they didn’t expect. One basic rule of the formal appraisal is that nothing in that session should come as a surprise to the employee—it’s just a formal meeting to review and sign-off on informal coaching and counseling that went on earlier during the year. Another issue is the tendency for managers to put off appraisals until the last possible moment. There are lots of reasons this happens. In some cases, it’s about avoiding unpleasantness or confrontation. In others, it’s because it’s a hassle to do the appraisal paperwork and prepare for it—often because the criteria are so subjective. Continue reading