- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

10 reasons why you should scrap annual performance appraisals. Pick one.

1: The ‘annual’ measurement is artificial. It works for budgets and accountants but not for much more. If a project is a 17 month project, why do you need a measure of performance at month 11 or 12? Why not monthly? Weekly? At month 17? [In Safety, if you have a fatality in June and another in August, this does not make it a 2/12 of a problem].

2: Performance appraisal is a constant dialogue. When you do that, the picture is built automatically. If so, performance management is simply management, not an extra ritual.

3: Performance appraisal 2021 version is two ways:  management about employees, employees about management. One way only? 50% of the picture.

4. The best thing you could do, in any case, is to consciously de-couple the process for compensation and bonuses from the one for performance appraisal.  You’ll still have to decide about compensation and reward, but this should be based upon a continuous build up over the year. De-dramatize the annual one off ritual if you insist in keeping one. It should be just another data point.

5. Data by Bersin/Deloitte showed that 89% of managers think that the performance management process ‘is not worth the time put into it’. Yes, you’ve heard, 89%. That is 11% thinking it’s OK. You?

6. Performance appraisal should be focused on (a) understanding success and failure, (b) coaching and (c) action/development. This cannot be done once a year. Not even twice a year. Is your system fit for purpose?

7. Punctuating performance management in particular calendar slots (mid year appraisal in June, end of year is November) paralyses the organization on June and November. Don’t fix times from the top. Managers should dictate their tempo and leaders should keep an eye on it. Again, this should be unbundled, time and process, from pay raises and bonuses.

8. Substitute ‘your Performance Appraisal’ for ‘Our performance Assessment’. We are together in this. A manager is not a father, or a benign god. Managers are human (most of them), they are not absolute holders of the truth.

9. Focus on tracking success and failure, assessing individual and group contributions, recognition and planning forward for success. The current systems are probably unsuitable. There may be digitally reborn but still mechanistic.

10.  Performance assessment/appraisal needs to be reinvented. A 360 degree feedback plugged in, does not solve the problem. It only creates a pseudo-democratic and pseudo-scientific monster.

If you agree with three or four out of the 10, you need to act. Call time out and re-invent. If you agree with more than three, why are you still doing it the old way? Change now! If you don’t  agree with any, maybe your company is called Annual Performance Management Suppliers, a company founded in 1809 (the year Frederick Taylor published “The Principles of Scientific Management.”) Just kidding.

I am not advocating scrapping performance management. I am advocating reinventing it and getting rid of the word performance. Then we will be confronted with the real issue: reinventing management.


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