Every employee has a love-hate kind of a relationship with performance appraisals. They love it because it’s the only way to reach better packages. And, they hate it for the fact that it doesn’t make their performance any better.

performance reviews

The usual scenario is somewhat like this – on any given day of a month you might be informed that it is the day when your efforts will be evaluated. It feels completely like judgement day when your fate is to be decided. You rejoice, and at the same time, are nervous too.
As an employee, if you have done your work wisely, you will love the one-on-one meetings. But, if you haven’t been giving your hundred percent to work, it won’t be a pleasant time.

Debate against Performance Appraisals

There is a basic mismatch between what the HR department demands and what the employees of the organization deliver. It is during the time of the appraisal rigmarole, that the loopholes become visible. A leading online portal ‘Psychology Today’ talks in detail about why Performance Appraisals should be scrapped out.

An excerpt from an article in Psychology Today says, “Jim Heskett, writing in the Harvard Business Review, says employee performance reviews rank with root canals on the list of least favourite things to do both for employees and managers. Heskett argues that the debate over the utility of performance reviews centers on a ’forced ranking’ system, made popular by GE, which not only purports to identify the top performers, but also the under performers who can subsequently be ‘advised’ to leave the organization. Once again, completely from a psychological perspective, it should be stressed that the brain often shuts itself to what is known as constructive feedback. It should also be pointed out and noted that the brain is not wired against the feedback inherently, but against the mode and consequences of the feedback.

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Debate for Performance Appraisals

No one likes to keep ticking boxes and randomly rating someone on a scale of 0-10, obviously where 0 means a dead-end. However, this is true only when appraisals are considered just another activity that has no potential to make a difference. Emphasizing the fact that performance reviews are often used as an effective method of downsizing makes it clear why no one but the employer ends up benefiting from the activity.

Cutting down on human capital was never the objective of performance appraisals. In an article on the ongoing debate, an Article in The Guardian defines a way in which performance appraisals should be conducted. “You should feel the review is part of a partnership, not something imposed on you from above. So once the paperwork has been done, your boss should be involved in what happens next, either providing support and coaching or making sure there’s the right environment to develop. This might include ensuring time, training budget or different kinds of work experience are provided, for example.”


Performance appraisals are fundamental to the positive growth and development of any organization. However, the manner in which they are conducted should be carefully chosen. Using them as a weapon to hurt the sentiments of any employee indicates misuse of a vital organization development technique. The end result that an organization must aspire for is the use of smart performance appraisal as a tool to cut down on wasteful operations and processes, instead of chopping down people.

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