Struggling with Performance Appraisals? You’re Not Alone…

Day after day, week after week, you grapple with addressing performance among those on your team. Even for the employees who are great workers, you have a hard time handling company mandates and what your employees need to hear. It’s not just delivering bad news, the good news often has stipulations to follow. Fortunately, you’re not alone in your battle for better performance and more effective reviews. Several organizations wrestle with improving the performance appraisal and changing their staff’s viewpoint on the increasingly touchy matter. 

Regulations Can Get in the Way

There are natural company barriers that have a tendency to get in the way of effective performance appraisals. The organization might be too involved in the process or too removed. The delicate balance between company standards, manager expectations and employee communication is currently in a state of instability. Claudine Kapel, Principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., said:

“It’s a common lament among those disappointed by performance management processes: Why can’t managers provide employees with honest feedback? While conventional wisdom tells us managers are often inherently reluctant to provide employees with feedback, a new paper suggests manager capabilities are just part of the issue.” [1]

Instead of letting these formal barriers get in the way of a successful performance appraisal, allow for regular conversations about employee performance. Train managers to communicate effectively beyond the mentor or motivator mentality and into a more objective conversationalist in these situations.

Outdated Performance Appraisal

The workforce has changed, so why hasn’t the mentality surrounding performance reviews? Granted most people don’t like the anticipation before their performance appraisal and often leave feeling like they have wasted their time… performance reviews don’t have to be this way.Some of the problem with the disdain towards employee performance reviews is the aging systems.

In fact, 67% of organizations planning to purchase performance management software, either for the first time or as a replacement for existing solutions, are doing so partially because their current systems are becoming old in an increasingly dynamic workforce. [2] Because performance management is increasingly considered vital to the success of a modern organization, there’s a push to replace the historical systems because they aren’t adequate in supporting next-gen practices. Like the majority of companies working towards a new system, change your performance management to something that is able to access employee and manager preferences.

Disgruntled Employees… And Managers

The clash of regulations, the outdated system, and what managers want to (and should) say has left employees and their supervisors frustrated with the idea of performance reviews as a general corporate standard. The misinterpretation of not only the purpose, but the method of a constructive performance appraisal has left managers reluctantly conducting these evaluations at the directives of their organization. Subsequently, employees don’t get the high quality assessment they should, so they become disgruntled with the waste of time and energy performance reviews have seemed to take on. Tim Gould, said:

“Too often, the process of employee reviews becomes more important than the actual result. What do employees want out of their reviews? …The main thing employees want to know is what career path they’re on – what they have to look forward to in terms of job growth and development.” [3]

As Gould alludes to, repurpose your antiquated performance appraisal process. Find a system that works well for you and your team based on what type of manager feedback they find most valuable.

You’ve spent so much time trying to understand how to handle performance appraisals, but you’re not the only one struggling with delivering helpful, constructive criticism. Through changing the mentality surrounding performance reviews and effective communication, you and your team can find a performance appraisal solution that truly makes a difference in the quality of work.

Bio: Chris Arringdale

Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an online performance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including, Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.


[1] – HR Reporter – Tackling the Barriers to Honest Feedback
[2] – Bersin by Deloitte – Managing Employee Performance: Users and Their Software
[3] – HR Morning – Dos and Don’ts to Make Performance Reviews Actually Me...

Views: 154

Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 14, 2015 at 10:09am

I get where you're going with this but I think you missed 1 key point. Employees care A LOT about reviews and managers/companies care very little, or at least it seems so. They do it because it's part of every manager's HR check list - not because they want to develop the employee. 


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