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Why employee performance appraisals are ineffective, sometim

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Why employee performance appraisals are ineffective, sometimes?

One of my HR Community friends, Basheer wrote to me:

> Dear Mr. Gireesh ,
> When most people consider traditional performance appraisals a time consuming and expensive task, I also believe they are ineffective in the present work culture of organizations.
>I would like to hear from you, better ways to conduct appraisals effectively, successfully and quickly. Or, is there a way out of appraisals altogether?

A.A Basheer

Basheer’s concern was genuine to a large extent and is shared by many others. So I would like to share my reply to him:

Dear Mr. Basheer,

Thanks for writing.

I (to some extent) agree that most people consider traditional performance appraisals a time consuming and expensive task. Is there a better way to do it? Yes, there is!

There is an old Kaizan saying, “You can improve only what you can measure“. Thus, measuring (or knowing) where you are and where you want to be, is as important as actually working to improve performance. Appraisals, in all its forms, are indeed tools to measure employee performance and as yet there are no alternatives to it. Whatever way you measure performance, it will still be called an employee performance appraisal. But there are several ways to improve and modify the traditional paper-based appraisal process. You can streamline your appraisal process with an automated appraisal software, like EmpXtrack. EmpXtrack Performance appraisal software empowers your employees, managers, HR Managers, heads of departments and CEO to conduct effective and transparent appraisals in quick time.

Here are some of my thoughts on what frustrates employees in a traditional appraisal process and how to eliminate them:

1. Lack of clarity about the purpose: At times, employees are unable to see the purpose of the appraisal process. Many employees are not even aware that a good or bad appraisal can impact their career prospects.

2. Lack of faith: Employees think that their managers do not appraise based on performance but instead base their decisions on personal relations with employees.

3. Time consuming: Sometimes appraisal forms use complicated questions and processes that confuse employees and irritate them. They then begin to regard appraisals as a hindrance to their normal work.

4. Difficulty in writing: Many employees have poor language skills and are unable to communicate their performance correctly and provide supporting data. This difficulty is further increased when they find difficult questions / terminology in the appraisal.

5. Lack of feedback after appraisal: Many companies do not provide feedback to employees on their performance. In a paper based appraisal process, the appraisal usually finds its place in HR closets!

While there are enough and more problems with existing performance solutions, there is a dearth of appropriate solutions. Here are five tips that I think can weed out inefficiencies in the appraisal process.

1. Clearly defined purpose: The appraisal purpose should be the first page of the appraisal form and should also be a part of the appraisal message/ emails sent to employees. For example, the first page of EmpXtrack Performance Appraisalclearly outlines an organization’s appraisal policy.

2. Employee involvement: One of our clients followed the below work flow for appraisals:

  • Employee self-appraisal —-> Sends to manager
  • Manager fills employee’s appraisal —-> Sends to reviewer
  • Reviewer reviews self-appraisal —–> Sends to employee for acceptance
  • Employee accepts/rejects the appraisal

This process ensures that appraisals are not completed without the employee’s acceptance and confirmation. Once such a process is established, employees know that they have a larger control on their appraisal and this enhances their self-confidence.

3. Web-based appraisal process: It saves a lot of time, money and effort.

4. Training on writing appraisals: Another key to make appraisals effective is to provide training on appraisal writing. Even with a web based employee appraisal system; there is still scope for help and training required for the software itself.

5. Providing effective feedback: After the appraisal process, let employees have a copy of the appraisal for their reference. Also let them know how it impacted their salary, compensation and career. Next time they will ensure that their performance appraisal scores better.

From my experience, I can say that if manager genuinely praises/criticizes an employee and conducts appraisalhonestly and accurately, he will not only gain respect but also motivate his/her entire team to work harder and smarter.

Thanks and regards!


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