I have been conscious of and contributing to much debate again on the value of performance appraisals i.e. Are they worth it? The concerns are genuine, the points of view well presented, but I see a theme that connects these arguments against performance appraisals, and it is one which I feel weakens their persuasiveness.
The theme is this; most of the arguments against performance appraisals consider them in isolation and not part of the broader context of a Performance Management process.
If we consider Performance Management as a vehicle of communication between an employee and their line manger. which in turn is a series of conversations about performance, then the appraisal can be seen as but one conversation in this series which happens to take place at the end of a given time period; usually a year, perhaps with an interim.
The appraisal conversation serves to review performance, plan ahead and identify development needs; it can only be truly useful if the other performance management conversations have taken place throughout the year i.e. Objective Setting, Giving Feedback and Coaching Conversations.
Without these conversations, appraisals can indeed become meaningless and counter-productive – which brings me to the analogy….it's like going on a diet for one day a year and expecting to lose weight.