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  • Writer's pictureD Bester

What's the deal with Performance Appraisals?

“Tell me about your performance appraisal experience at work?”.

Not that long ago, our team hosted an exhibitor stand at the HR Innovation & Tech Festival in Johannesburg, and this is the question we posed to the many visitors.

It may not surprise the reader, but just about everybody rolled their eyes, smiled with an obvious hint of cringe or responded with something to the effect of “oh, that!”

It turns out that the majority of Southern African organisations, represented there, were still relying heavily on monitoring performance the old-fashioned way; by using the Annual Performance Review/Appraisal system. So, if our stand visitors and so many other organisations have such a negative sentiment towards the old annual performance review, why are they still using it?

Allow me to venture a simple guess: “It’s what we’ve always used; besides - how do we replace it?”

We humans can be a perplexing bunch; once we’re in a comfort zone – even if it’s not working for us any more – we stay there. It’s a known fact that people only voluntarily accept change when two conditions are at play:

1. There’s a major crisis

2. There’s a major opportunity.

HR Professionals are no different. After all they are people too!

What if the opportunity to embrace a new way of doing things is so great that you would be thrilled to leave the albatross of the anxiety-laden, ineffective, 20th century performance monitoring? What is it costing your organization in lost revenue from an unengaged workforce or losing key talent?

If you’re still reading this, it means you’re interested in discovering more. You will also be pleased to know that thousands of organizations have made the shift successfully. What is the shift you ask? Well, there is a worldwide transition from Annual Performance Feedback to Continuous Feedback and Coaching.

According to independent studies; there are three immediate effects of the outdated annual performance appraisal:

1. Infrequent feedback and ranking by performance scores decrease employee engagement.

2. Compensation decisions based on one meeting frustrates employees.

3. Waiting all year to introduce performance issues reduces efficiency.

Therefore, more and more organizations - locally and abroad – are starting to implement a ‘real-time’, on-the-go process to keep employee performance data current and accurate.

Three immediate benefits to using this approach are:

1. Future-focused conversations instead of evaluating past performance.

2. Regular check-ins, which enable employees to self-correct behaviours which impair high performance.

3. Employees who can adjust to higher performance levels quickly have a positive impact on organizational bottom line.

Now that you have a fresh understanding of the shift that is sweeping the HR community worldwide, how would you answer the question at the beginning of this article?

“So, leave us a note. Tell us about your performance appraisal experience at work?”


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