HR questions the value of appraisals

Two-thirds of HR professionals have little or no confidence in their organisations’ appraisal systems, according to research.

Respondents to a survey by Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review said that, although they remain loyal to the concept of appraisals, the process can be fraught with problems.

One fifth of the 154 HR professionals surveyed indicated that appraisals failed in some way. And 40% said the process did not achieve what it set out to.

Asked whether there had been any instances at their company where the appraisal system had a negative impact on an individual, a relationship or the organisation, 30% of respondents said yes, and 42% agreed that appraisals were often badly conducted.

Disagreements between managers and employees about negative feedback, or the way reviews have been handled, were by far the most common problems.

In more than one instance, employees had taken their grievances about performance re-views to a higher level within the organisation.

However, virtually all the HR practitioners surveyed believe performance reviews are an essential management tool, with 57% strongly supporting this view. Just two of the organisations polled believed that appraisals did not improve individual performance.

The most common failing identified among line managers is that they store up an unfavourable opinion and then spring it on an unsuspecting individual at the appraisal interview.

In one reported incident, an employee went sick with stress and then left the company after a harsh appraisal.



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