Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why Do We All Hate Performance Appraisals?

Today I observed the following conversation on Facebook among a couple of Shell employees who are in the middle of the Goals & Performance Appraisal (GPA) Review (identities of the culprits are protected, hehe):
I should say that the Performance Appraisal process at Shell is great in design and needs lots of improvement in implementation. However, I believe it is a universal problem because I know few people who drool over their performance reviews. What are the possible causes?
  • Cynicism. Yeah, right... HR people need to get a life: this has never worked and it won't!
  • Lack of transparency. How do performance rankings actually work? Does that document that you talk about three times a year help you get a larger bonus? Where do those papers end up and will anyone ever look at them again?
  • No following through. The intentions might be right but being caught up in the constant fire-fighting of the day-to-day jobs, both employees and their supervisers forget the importance of the documents they have agreed.
  • Little HR engagement. Understanding the principles of the performance appraisal process is critical, so that the employees take it seriously and the expectations are managed correctly. Line managers (particularly the new ones or vice versa those who have been in the company forever and "know better") need lots of support and training. Otherwise, disillusionment is inevitable.
  • Poor systems. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing a performance appraisal and suddently the system crashes on you. I have seen many HR ERP solutions that are unwieldy, take forever to load and not very user friendly. However, trust me... we, as HR pros, hate those system even more :)
I am not blaming the companies here and I am not blaming the employees either - I don't believe in conspiracy theories; nobody wants to sabotage a good process. But once glitches begin, if there is insufficient communication, everything goes belly-up and the Facebook comments you see above are quite natural. Unfortunately, implement a system is not the most difficult task. It is changing the culture and the mindset of people that normally takes lots of efforts and there are few success stories proving that culture change is an easy task - otherwise... why do more than 50% of M&As fail?


  1. Anthony Hess
    I think a frustration for me was when politics trumped your actual performance in many cases. You do a great job all year, your boss tells you how amazing you are, but because he has to give a better review to the next guy (for whatever reason) yours gets downgraded. On the other hand, I always liked that it forces managers to be up front about their expectations and needs (as much as this should always be happening - in a busy company it often doesn't and some managers don't like to get pinned down like this).

  2. Hi

    Tks very much for post:

    I like it and hope that you continue posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: Examples Performance Appraisals

    Best rgs




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