The disadvantages of performance appraisals

Written by david mcguffin
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Performance appraisals are usually part of a yearly review process in which a supervisor reviews the job performance, goal completion and projects accomplished by an employee. While the structure of performance appraisals offers a way for giving constructive feedback to employees, which in turn can be used as a reward or a motivational tool, there are downsides to traditional performance appraisals.

One Sided Input

Traditional performance appraisals involve a supervisor and supervisee, both of which have limited perspectives. As with any situation, limited perspectives lead to a limited amount of information by which to judge performance.

If a manager is busy supervising several people, as well as tasks and other projects, then there will be limited time to take in the full scope and practice of the performance of the supervisee. As an alternative, many industries today are utilising 360-degree feedback, which takes into account the relationships that an employee has with peers, customers, clients, supervisors and those whom the supervisee is responsible for overseeing.

Forms Only Give Quantitative or Qualitative Data

Many times, feedback forms that are utilised in performance appraisals only use quantitative or qualitative measures, but not both. Quantitative appraisals mainly measure numbers, such as how many projects, how many were on time. While this is important, there are other things to take into consideration.

Qualitative benchmarks involve the completion of personal or professional goals and the stories of how the supervisee utilised opportunities to lead by example and proactively implement the values and mission of the organisation. Listening to the stories of what has happened over the past year and looking at numbers and outcomes will result in a clearer picture of what the value of the employee is to the organisation.

Once-a-Year Raises

Performance appraisals are usually done once a year and are connected to an increase in salary. This is a disadvantage in that supervisees generally live in fear and experience anxiety when their review time comes up. Having more consistent interaction when it comes to feedback between management and supervisees can help reduce the fear, anxiety and wondering about a raise.

Furthermore, the employee naturally will want to bargain for more money focusing on their strengths and the management will want to emphasise the constructive areas of performance evaluation in order to keep from giving raises, since money is a limited resource in any organisation. This adds to the stress of the review.

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