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« Scrap Performance Appraisals - Part 1 | Main | Scrap Performance Appraisals - Part 3 »

July 26, 2005


Oh Lisa, you are so right about this! I'm dragging my soapbox over and putting it next to yours so we can broadcast this louder and in all directions.

The beginning of your article says it all for me: "we should not employ performance appraisal systems that only the BEST managers and leader can make worthwhile."

Like you I have worked with numerous companies using performance appraisals, and the cons so overwhelmingly outweigh any pros. I have yet to uncover a reason they are done which doesn't point directly to the need to reinvent the connecting process or system the appraisal is tied to. The classic justification: "That's how we figure out our annual compensation raises on scale." I'd hate to see the assumptions in the rest of your financials...

Save your money, save your time, and respect the dignity of your staff: Stop the anguish for everyone concerned both on the giving and receiving ends of it. Down with performance appraisals once and for all! Manage with aloha instead.

I had a friend who was a superb manager. He developed his staff with single-minded zeal and worked himself silly making sure they had everything they needed to perform to the best of their potential. The result was what you would expect: a magnificent team of highly-motivated top performers.

Come the dreaded appraisal time, he gave each of them the top rating they deserved. Then found his ratings were thrown out by the local HR Gauleiter because "they don't conform to the proper distribution." He was told he had to mark some of them "average" and some "below average."

Of course, he refused, so the statistically-challenged HR folk did it for him. How's that for motivating staff?

By the way, in a piece of serendipity, my local paper had a Dilbert cartoon about appraisals yesterday on exactly this topic.

The pointy-haired boss was appraising Wally against the "corporate policy" that 20% of staff must get poor ratings. Since he only had 4 subordinates, the boss worked out that .8 of a person had to be marked down, so he told Wally "your ankles and shins have performed well, but the rest of you is monkey hurlage."

Just one more aside. Have you seen the latest edition of "Fast Company" has a cover article on "Why We Hate HR?" These people are fast becoming as loathed as accountants!

Adrian: Thanks for the Dilbert interpretation. I know managers like your friend who were forced to put people into lowers ranks - the twisted logic! Why would it EVER be a good decision to take a steller performer and tell them they are mediocre???? I heard about the Fast Compnay article but have not seen it. Many HR folks are very sharp and know that appraisials are a waste of time but have been unable to influence senior management.

Rosa - Yes! You go, girl! Aloha, yes!

Markle's book can be ordered thru your local Borders for $65. Also, if you or your company has a subscription to Books 7X24 it is on-line there as well. You can't print but one page at a time, but you can read thru it or look it over.

Thanks for the tip on the book, Walter, it sounds like a good one!

Please, can we start a worldwide signed petition to get rid of the appraisal system. In the hands of a good manager they are a wonderful tool when implemented effectively but when steered by the uneducated power-happy so called managers where I work it's an horrific nightmare. They are the ruination of many a happy well-balanced employee leading to frustration, alcolohism and any other 'ism' one can think of. Where I work - quite a rather large UK corporation - they are used as a power mechanism rather than a confidence builder. "Keep them down and oppressed" is the motto of my office - come on over and join us folks, we have six vacancies in the last six months and we're about to have a few more so many openings are guaranteed. If there's any truth in the saying "What goes around comes around" look out folks, there's going to be a lot of bodies flying around.

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