Appraisals, oh dear.

Time to return to a familiar HR theme.

One of the funniest scenes in the UK version of the Office is the performance appraisal.

(This is probably the most watched DVD I own)

 Recent UK research points to a serious problem with performance appraisals.

The research found a quarter of respondents thought managers simply regarded the reviews as a “tick-box” exercise while one in five accused their bosses of not even thinking about the appraisal until they were in the room.

Almost half (44 percent) did not think their boss was honest during the process, 29 percent thought they were pointless, and a fifth felt they had had an unfair appraisal, according to the YouGov poll of just under 3,000 workers.

Only a fifth believed their manager would always act on what came up during the review and 20 percent said their boss never bothered to follow up any concerns raised.

However four out of 10 thought appraisals were a useful guide to an individual’s progress and just under a third thought they were helpful.

Over the last two years or so I’ve seen a really rapid growth in online Performance Appraisal, both as part of an ERP platform and with a new wave of niche players. It would be interesting to contrast the response of employees and managers to online vs paper based appraisals and see if there is a difference. Technology improves the process, but  manager behaviour is the crucial component.  All the technology in the world won’t help if managers think it is a waste of time.

Getting the performance appraisal process right should be central to HR strategy and investment. So much flows from this process. My litmus test for the state of HR in a company would be to look at this process. If it is good shape, then probably the rest of HR is too.

Sadly, the research above seems to show that in so many companies the process is still more David Brent than HR would care to admit.

Something to discuss with the Human Capitalist tonight over dinner, once we have finished talking about his rather impressive golf.


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