The annual appraisal, the culmination of the traditional Performance Management process, is broken, fundamentally flawed and completely irrelevant. The process of having a formal discussion with someone 2-3 times a year is laughable for a number of reasons:
- Feedback should be timely. Waiting three months to share with Frank that he messed up the widget deal with giganto-industries is not helpful to Frank at all. Frank needs feedback the day you realize that widget deal is a failure.
- Development is a journey, not a destination with pre-determined rest stops along the way. Any process that gives the impression of something different is fatally flawed.
- Updating Performance Management forms with feedback is a cumbersome process for all involved. There is a lot of writing involved – employees trying to figure out just the right way to phrase their accomplishments, managers trying to phrase things just the right way and in some organizations the forms have to go through an HR review first. That’s a lot of time and energy dedicated to a process that with meager returns.
Recently companies like Accenture, Deloitte and Microsoft have completely done away with the annual performance review and appraisal. Instead, they are choosing processes that eliminate annual ratings and the forced ranking process. These companies are moving to systems and/or processes that emphasize ongoing feedback conversations as well as crowdsourced feedback.
Sign Me Up
Eliminate the annual appraisal process in favor of ongoing feedback from multiple sources? Sign me up! Please!
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just like any best practice, you have to think about how this works at your organization. How are your managers at giving feedback now? Are they comfortable with confrontation? Are they comfortable giving feedback quickly? Or do you have to push them to give feedback? How receptive are your managers to receiving feedback? What about your people? Are your people adept at providing feedback up and down the chain? How about to each other?
Where Are You Starting?
A key step to evaluating if this can work in your organization is figuring out organizational readiness. If your managers are comfortable giving feedback on a regular basis, than you may be in business! Formalize this process, consult with legal on how to document and move forward to roll-out and future SHRM “best practices” presentations!
On the other hand, if your employees endure meaningless process like this once a year, you have some foundation work to do:
If your people are not comfortable giving and receiving feedback, it’s a waste of time to redesign performance management. No system, or “best practice” process will solve the problem you face: inability to give and receive feedback. Work on that and it becomes much easer to adapt a process without the cumbersome forms and ratings.