Annual Performance Appraisals are a Tool, Not the Goal

Posted by Julie • May 26, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 3 min read

The annual performance appraisal is pretty underappreciated these days, or at least, 98% of 2,677 HR managers, CEOs and other employees feel they are unnecessary. There are many contributing factors, but most often we hear how inaccurate they happen to be:

  • 45% of HR leaders feel they are an inaccurate representation of employee work

  • 55% of employees feel they are inaccurate representations of their work


Performance Appraisals are Not the Goal

The annual performance appraisal has become a goal instead of a tool. The hope behind their enactment was to reward great progress and strengthen employee weaknesses, yet many do neither. The inaccuracy employees and HR professionals are feeling come from the fact that 12 months of ups and downs are only covered in a short meeting. It’s a flash before their eyes instead of a continuous goal.

An employee may have had a particularly difficult month around the time of their scheduled performance review and you can bet that will be the topic of discussion, not the previous however many months before where they were exceeding goals. The annual review stunts progress because by nature it focuses on a broad view of the past and rarely looks to the future.

Read more: Why Performance Appraisals Should Be Done THIS Way

Transform the Appraisal

Chants of “kill the annual performance review” has become fairly commonplace and all the above likely has you feeling we’re joining in. We are of the mindset that performance appraisal systems are and should be as unique as the organization who is holding them. That means the annual performance appraisal should only go if your company thinks it should go. In some cases, that annual performance review is necessary as it provides a clearly scheduled mark for raises and other logistics.

The performance appraisal should be viewed as a performance management tool. It should become a supplement to other tactics, like appreciation and continued skill building. When it becomes a technique used to continue progress it loses the feeling of it being a required destination and can instead be the overall check in it was always meant to be.

ICYMI: How to Select a Performance Appraisal Process for Your Company.

Drastic Change from Small Additions

Today, the idea of frequent feedback reigns supreme and the reason for that is 65% of employees have point blank said they want more. Managers are hearing, “I need more of your time,” when in actuality, employees are simply saying they want direction. Make the process more fluid by checking in with employees and being available when they need your time. That also means taking care of any performance issues immediately instead of making a note to return to it at a later date.

Learn More: How Trakstar Makes On-Demand Performance Management a Reality

The biggest problem with annual performance appraisals is how often they are the only part of a performance management plan. All work, including what is placed within a performance management system, is geared to the big finale instead of the everyday details used to achieve it. If you are ready to rethink your organization’s approach to managing the progress of employees, take a moment to see how Trakstar can keep the transformation simpler than ever.

Don't Miss Out on More Great HR Articles!

Subscribe to get the latest, greatest HR and Talent Development content straight to your inbox.