Myths of Appraisal Systems
Much has been said and written about performance appraisals, their importance in meeting the company objectives and staying at the cutting edge of competition. Here are some myths about performance appraisals.
Performance appraisals are reasonably accurate reflections of the performance of an employee
The consensus seems to be that performance appraisals rarely reflect the correct picture of the achievements, confidence and qualities of an employee with regards to achieving company objectives.
In many companies the job description of employees is either non existent or is an antique document made by managers under pressure from the human resources department. It is far different from the employee’s actual job which is often dynamic as is required to meet the ever changing needs of the organisation.
Furthermore, the work of an employee and his human qualities are a myriad of complexities, of which those that matter most are emotions and creativity, which are not measurable objectively. Objectivity means that results of an appraisal should not be subjective. They should not change if the assessment is done by different people with different opinions, beliefs and prejudices which is hardly the case. Besides, it is difficult to measure creativity. How do you measure the performance of a musician, a poet or a painter? You can’t measure their performance by measuring their output volumes.
Since it is only a record of a manager’s opinion, without credible evidence, quantifiable data or accurate tools for measurement of performance to support those opinions, there have even been cases where courts of law have ruled that appraisals cannot be admissible as valid measures of performance. In some cases the manager may give a better than real report to his subordinates to get a bigger portion of the corporate cake for his department and to maintain internal peace.
Performance appraisals reflect the year long performance and are not isolated events
This is not always true, too often it is the performance and /or behaviour in the weeks or months prior to an appraisal that is most remembered which is natural. If you work hard the year long and make a mistake in the last few days before the appraisal, your failure is fresh in the manager’s mind and may be reflected in your appraisal.
There is a lot of good advice to managers to do a constant appraisal on a regular basis throughout the year but they are too busy often fire-fighting or dealing with crisis after crisis and rarely able to find time to complete an annual appraisal properly.
Performance appraisals are important and make a difference to the employees’ career and growth
It is generally believed that increments in salary and promotions come automatically as a result of good performance appraisals. This is not always the case, and the contribution of these hurriedly filled appraisal forms are often marginal. Career paths may be charted by political considerations and the influence one wields in the organisation. Performance appraisals have been known to be written to suit the political decisions already taken to favour the influential few.
In comparison, it can said that a 360-degree feedback system reflects the true performance of an employee as it takes into account the self assessment of the employee
The assessors have a tendency to place most people in the average category which is what average really means. A large number of people in companies, however, generally feel that they are high performers. There may, therefore, be a difference of opinion between the assessor and the assessed.
Purpose of Performance Appraisals is to relate it to rewards and promotions
In most cases managers have rewards or promotions in mind when doing a performance appraisal. The purpose of performance appraisal, however, is not only for rewards and promotions but also for assessment of training needs, performance improvement and development of the individual. There is a risk that if you highlight the needs for training, improvement and development to make a career improvement plan for the employee, you jeopardise his chances of increase in salary and promotion. On the other hand if you praise his achievements and qualities to enable him to get increments or promotion, you cover up his shortcomings which need to be addressed with training, performance improvement and development plans.
These and many other similar myths about Performance Appraisals exist in the corporate world. Even the smartest of the smart executives adorning the top echelons often believe them to be true.
All the best,
London Life Coach & Business Coach, London UK
Certified High Performance Coach & Master NLP Practitioner
Natalie Dee, London Life Coach works in the area of lifestyle management as a London life coach, using life coaching with confidence coaching and NLP both in London and throughout the UK, applying techniques such as NLP, EFT and Hypnotherapy to improve levels of self-confidence as well as relationships, personal health, finance and career. Life coaching London, UK and worldwide available.
Posted in Life Coaching, Performance appraisals on July 22, 2010