Wednesday 10 October 2012

Do we really need “appraisals?” guest post by Steve Harris

This is a guest post by Steve Harris one of the accredited mentors of my Enhancing Their Gifts System™

There are two terms in use in the lexicon of the HR professional which I take particular exception to. They are “performance appraisal” and “performance management”. I realise these systems need a name, but, why not call them a name which shows what your intend as an outcome?

Oh wait…

These probably do reflect the outcomes desired, if indeed, the company’s philosophy towards its people is one of command and control, punishment and reward.  Measurement for measurement’s sake.

A bit strong you say? Recently I was involved with an organisation that was, outwardly at least, committed to a structured and transparent mandatory performance management system.

This system was structured in such a way that when used as mandated, recorded performance and behavioural goals or KPI’s were in great detail, and had review periods that allowed for weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual appraisals (like it is a test hat you must pass, or fail!).

Yet the promised high performance culture remained elusive, and adherence to “the system” was poor at all levels of management.


Put simply, the system was intrusive, demeaning and too onerous for management to use. To prepare for each session, log the details on the system, conduct the interview, log the results and get next level review of the outcomes took, say, 3 hours, a manager who had 10 reports would effectively spend their working week reviewing the staff’s performance.

This seems absurd, and it is.

The real damage though was to staff morale, because what they are presented with is a mix of objective and subjective measurements that could be used as a form of disciplinary evidence, when what the organisation should have been looking to is a system of performance development.  This is where KPI’s and behaviours are designed to suit the individual’s development needs and abilities; and that the system was there as an adjunct to the true needs of the staff. With this improved ability to understand the goals and aspirations of the staff member the management team’s efforts can focus on bringing out the best performance in each and every unique individual.

Better I think to look at these systems as performance development systems, because surely you want to encourage and motivate people to do their best whilst they are work, not monitor their every move and critique them at every turn. Ask yourself, would this motivate you?

Steve Harris can be contacted on +61 438703570.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

1 comment:

Maree Farnsworth said...

Sounds like sense to me.