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The tricky art of conducting a great appraisal ...

Performance appraisal is an important aspect of effective people management but also one of the trickiest.

Much research has highlighted that many Managers resist the duty to evaluate others’ performance and skew the judgements they make. This discomfort leads to leniency or fence sitting in ratings – something that is widely seen to be the greatest threat to the integrity of performance management.

Leniency/fence sitting satisfies a drive to feel better about ourselves, avoid conflict or support other political agendas, such as making ourselves look more successful as line managers.

Existing research has found that leniency/fence sitting is related to personality traits – in particular, that highly agreeable people rate others more highly, and highly conscientious people rate others lower.

There aren’t any sure-fire ways of dealing with this specific problem, but a good piece of appraisal software can go a long way in overcoming some of these issues by providing relevant industry, business and role related measures and a platform for more frank discussions.

This supported by training programmes in conducting appraisals, understanding how honest feedback can help the employee and the business performance have been shown to reduce discomfort and increase effectiveness.

Finally, feeding back to everyone how the data is being used and understanding that realistic scoring and comments are key in developing the people to drive the business to greater success is critical.

Fundamentally, the lesson put forward is that managers’ comfort with an appraisal process can support or undermine the integrity of a performance management system.

Some managers will just get this, others it may take a while but wouldn’t it be great to have a report that highlights if Managers have truly embraced the ethos of appraisals or have opted for the leniency/fence sitting approach …?

Posted on: June 24th, 2015

  • Normally we get around a 45% completion rate with our appraisals, this time using e-ppraise we achieved 95%! The feedback from the team for the first time ever was that the appraisal experience was positive.

    Jane Andrew, Director

  • Really pleased with the new appraisal system, it helps identify training needs and provides consistency across all our 21 offices. the appraisall team have provided excellent training, and support throughout.

    Bethan Edmund-Harper - John Francis Estate Agents

  • A software that takes away my paperwork headache! I am spending my time diagnosing data - determining our succession planning and growth plans rather than tracking who has/hasn't completed their appraisals.

    Helen Williams, HR Manager, Call centre

  • Just love the training administration functionality of the software. I can manage the departmental training budgets and targets, ensure we are legally compliant and that all CPD targets are met, and all in easy to use report formats and diary reminders ... no more multiple spreadsheets!

    Katy Miller, Training manager, Insurance

  • The competency framework works really well for our company. The combination of generic and bespoke competencies means the software feels really relevant to the roles in our organisation. Most of the hard work has been done up front meaning our managers are a lot more engaged with the process.

    Anna Mosley - HR Advisor

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