Are your annual appraisals the annual dread?

by Lawrence Walsh | Dec 13, 2019

time icon 3 mins

It’s that time of year again…the dreaded annual appraisal. We know the word “appraisal”
alone can send shivers down the spine, or make employees break out in an irrational pool of
sweat. But why, after all, performance management is an awesome tool for employee’s
development opportunities and driving business forward.

Yet if you put yourself in your employees’ shoes, it’s easy to see how it can be a
demoralising, demotivating and generally drab process. We’re not saying appraisals are a
bad thing – but they need to work. 55% of small businesses we spoke to who use annual
appraisals were doubtful they helped towards their goals – so what’s the bloody point?

We doubt you want to waste your time, so you need to make sure your performance
management provides growth opportunities for the employee and contributes towards your
organisation meeting its objectives.

Power Imbalance

Appraisals can and should work to motivate your workforce since they provide the
opportunity to recognise and reward employee efforts with salary increases, promotions or
bonuses. Yet, we’ve found that the system of annual appraisals can often do the opposite.
When employees are required to justify their achievements against their managers’ goals,
some panic, feel under pressure and may even feel like moving on.

If appraisals are a threatening process where employees have collective bad experiences,
how are they ever going to take the feedback in a positive way? Feeding back to employees
needs to be constructive process without being demoralising but feedback should also
acknowledge your team’s achievements.

Appraisals are supposed to maintain a meaningful two-way dialogue with employees but
only consulting with your team once a year can hardly suffice as two-way dialogue. Such
sporadic conversation can stifle creativity and personal development which obviously isn’t a
good thing.

Are appraisals outdated?

The appraisal system originated a long time ago – the 1800s in fact. Back then, performance
appraisals were as simple as monitoring output versus the time taken and costs. Now the
workplace looks very different; with a load more tech, way more coffee alongside new
employment laws, ways of working and new ideas – so why hasn’t the appraisal system
adapted?

Is one overarching appraisal really going to cut it – agile working often divides the working
year into numerous projects that have different timescales and skill requirements. If your
appraisals focus on situations that were relevant 364 days ago, how are your employees
going to improve, they’ve probably forgotten the details. I mean it’s sometimes hard to
remember what you had for dinner last week, let alone the finer details of a project that
happened 11 months ago.

As a generation we live and work in the moment, so why aren’t we evaluating this way? It
makes no sense! Technology has come on a long way since the 1800s, relevant up to date
feedback is more accessible than ever so it seems crazy not to take advantage of this.

How can OKRs help?

Managers need to feel effectively equipped to provide regular feedback and ongoing
performance management. Although OKRs cannot change your culture on their own, they
can act as a catalyst to allow transparent relationships to grow throughout your business.
OKRs change how success is defined and communicated so your team know what they are
working towards, the reasons behind why they’re doing things and their individual
contribution to the objective. OKRs really are awesome and they can revolutionise the
approach your business takes towards performance management.

Our Giants love OKRs. We’ll take time to understand your business and get into the nuts
and bolts of how OKRs can work for you. We know organisations need managed
performance all year around – it’s not just a tick in the box. Start your journey to a more
successful business with a call with one of our Giants today.

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