It’s appraisal time! Many companies conduct periodic reviews to give feedback on performance to their employees and to assist employees in developing their career. This appraisal period may be of six months or one year depending on company policies. Performance appraisal is the right time to ask for your promotion as well as salary raise.

Don’t assess actual performance — most of the assessment that managers complete focuses on “the person,” including characterizations of their personal “traits” (i.e. commitment), knowledge (i.e. technical knowledge) or behaviors (i.e. attendance). While these factors may contribute to performance, they are not measures of actual output. If you want to assess the person, call it “person appraisal.” Performance is output quality, volume, dollar value, and responsiveness.

Infrequent feedback – if the primary goal of the process is to identify and resolve performance issues, executing the process annually is silly. A quality assessment/control program anywhere else in the business would operate in real time. At the very minimum, formal feedback needs to be given quarterly, like the GE process.

Non-data-based assessment — most processes rely 100% on the memory of those completing the assessment because pre-populating the forms with data to inform decisions would be too difficult (cynicism). In addition, most assessment criteria are “fuzzy” and subjective.

Lack of effectiveness metrics — many accept that the goals of the process are to recognize results, provide feedback to address weaknesses, determine training needs, and to identify poor performers. Unfortunately, rarely do process owners ever measure their processes’ contribution to attaining any of these goals. Instead, the most common measure relating to performance appraisal is the percentage completed.

Lack of accountability – managers are not measured or held accountable for providing accurate feedback. While they may be chastised for completing them late, there is no penalty for doing a half-assed job or making mistakes on them, which is incredibly common. One firm attempting to remove a troublesome employee found that the manager had rated the individual the highest within the department and awarded them employee of the year.

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