Is this a new era of Performance Appraisals?

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We have touched upon this topic many, many times, and rightly so; because each new article trumpeting the end/death/demise (tick favourite to suit) of performance appraisals has a more nuanced message behind the attention grabbing headline.

Take this latest article in Forbes, about IBM very dramatically ‘blowing Up’ it’s performance review process.

The IBM story is particularly interesting because as you read through, you realise that ‘enhancing’ might be a better description than ‘blowing up’; they will still set objectives, albeit these will be shorter-term in nature; they will still assess at year-end against a number of ‘dimensions’ rather than a singular grade; they will dispense with performance ranking (which has been a trend for some time), and they will encourage a process of continuous feedback & coaching throughout the year.

What is being described is Performance Management.

Realising that a once-a-year conversation/evaluation doesn’t actually work when it comes to getting the best out of people, is not a revelation – it is sensible conclusion borne out of experience, where greater levels of communication and open, transparent relationships between a Line Manager and their team members, is more likely to deliver sustainable results.

The performance appraisal projects we work on with clients, are rarely just about implementing an effective performance appraisal system; invariably, we are deep down into revising their approach to performance management:

- understanding the purpose of performance management

- designing appraisal forms and processes which are ‘fit for purpose’ and include the input of employees

- creating an easy-to-use on-line appraisal system, which allows for capturing continuous feedback and feedback from others (360 degree feedback),

- and ‘Meaningful Conversations‘ training for Line Managers for every aspect of performance management i.e. Setting objectives, giving feedback, coaching and appraisals


If you would like to talk us to us about ‘blowing up’ your performance appraisals, then feel free to contact us, but I suspect you might find we do a better job of ‘building on’ what you are already doing.





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