Why Employee Performance Appraisal is not as Effective as Before

Performance appraisal is said to be one of the most difficult tasks for managers, next to firing an employee. Most organizations’ performance review systems are poorly designed and implemented that they actually cause more harm than good, causing stress and anxiety for both the manager and the employee. 

Mentorship and skill development are at the top of the list of what employees want, according to studies, especially among the younger generations. When an employee is mentored, they receive much feedback on their work that performance reviews aren’t necessary anymore. 

So, where do managers often go wrong with performance appraisal? We have listed common problems managers often experience in performance reviews. 

Performance reviews are annual

As a common practice, most companies’ performance reviews are done annually. Throughout these years, we could say that this practice needs redesigning. Employees require regular feedback on how they’re performing, both what they’re doing well and what they need to improve on. Once a year simply isn’t enough.

Real-time feedback from peers and direct supervisors is preferred over an annual evaluation because it allows them to focus their time and effort on the most important aspects of their work. Apart from providing developmental mentorship, this activity will also help them increase their morale by recognizing their contribution, helping them in improving, and creating a more healthy working relationship.

Performance reviews are one-way top-down process

Most often than not, performance reviews are viewed as a lecture. It is where managers tell their employees their grading for the year like in school. This isn’t the point of a performance appraisal discussion—the point is  for employees to feel heard and listened to. 

A solution managers could do to lessen this set up is to have a two-way appraisal system. Together with a manager’s review, you could also include a peer/self review. Instead of the manager focusing on the employee’s behavior in work, both parties in the meeting will be focused on the documentation of job performance. Remember, we don’t judge people; we judge their outputs.

Performance reviews are usually based on numerical grading system

In relation to above sentiment, most performance reviews are based on numerical grades. You cannot properly evaluate your employees based on how well they perform from 1-5. It needs to be detailed and properly documented in order to be effective. Another misstep made by managers is giving employees average ratings in order to avoid more discussion.

One approach is for managers and employees, yes including them, to document and keep track of their work. Mutual documentation keeps everyone’s attention on the task at hand, rather than on the individual. The goal of a performance review is to provide developmental feedback to an employee so that they can continue to improve their skills and ability to contribute to the organization. It is your responsibility, as a manager, to have a direct conversation with the employee on what the company expects and most wants and needs from them.

As time passes on, we’ve identified shortcomings in the performance appraisal system’s common practices. This is an excellent opportunity to rethink and test a manager’s creativity in order to improve and encourage their team members to perform to their full potential.

About the author

Jowena Borral is an HR Generalist with more than 5 years of experience working with local and international companies. A business specialist with a knack for creative visualization, team engagement and human interaction.