Is this the end of the appraisal?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

appraisal This is becoming an increasingly common question we are asked by managers, often with a hopeful glint in their eye!

Some organisations are indeed ditching the annual appraisal, finding it time consuming, not really understanding the purpose of it and therefore not getting any value. In some organisations the original purpose of introducing appraisals has been lost and they have simply become a method for awarding pay rises or bonus based on a box the individual has been placed in or a label they have been given. The label given is often awarded by managers competing against each other to get their team top ranking, potentially to avoid any awkward honest conversations!

Interestingly, psychologists at Stanford University studied 607 performance tools and they found the ‘labelling of people’ which so often happens in many of these appraisal schemes in fact worsens peoples performance. According to research by leadership specialist Roffey Park, a third of operational managers say they find the nine box grid (another tool used to identify talent) difficult to implement, have concerns about their capacity for objectivity when using such methods, and are reluctant to ‘label’ employees.

Now that is interesting. It’s rare these days to attend a seminar or conference on talent without someone discussing the shortcomings of the talent grids like this. Having worked in talent management we can see where placing people in a talent category might appear to help with succession planning, but there is much evidence suggesting now that doing so, is not helpful. What we are finding works better, is where people are more closely connected, and where management know all their people. Giving people a label or category can over-complicate the process. So back to the original question – is this the end of appraisals?

Absolutely, if it is a once a year process, based around meaningless objectives, ensure compliance or to tick a box.

Absolutely not, if the appraisal is part of an annual framework based on regular, honest conversations that support an individual to meet their objectives, develop and grow and help them work toward aspirations along with helping the business to manage any risks and identify future successors for key roles.

Ultimately the appraisal is one part of a series of quality conversations an individual has with their manager to help them to be their best, feel valued and appreciated. When it’s done well, it’s a fantastic tool, just don’t over-complicate it!

Our challenge to you…

Are your managers equipped with the skills, to conduct quality conversations?

Click here to see what we can offer and how we can help you.

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