Is this the end of Annual Appraisals?


Do you think that you are creating a happy workplace when you ask your teams to conduct mandatory Annual Appraisals? Honestly, when you said yes, then please think again. No one loves them, nor your managers nor your employees. They take up so much time, energy and cause a lot of frustration.

I have listed here 5 main reasons why today’s companies are conducting yearly annual appraisals. These are also the reasons why all companies should actually rethink how and when they are conducting them.

Annual Appraisals are conducted to inform team members about organization goals

Well, yeah, do you actually need to share your organization goals only during the 1:1 talk? There are so many other and better ways how to do that. I would advise sharing that information during your next Toolbox talk, Town Hall or All Hands meeting.

Annual Appraisals are conducted to set individual goals to all team members

Honestly? I am positive that to set up individual goals for the next year you actually need a bit more time and work than just this one-hour discussion during the Annual Appraisal. To be honest, we are living in a changing world. Meaning that everything around us changes which affects our workplace and work practices as well. The goals that were set at the beginning of the year might not be relevant after a few months. We must be flexible and be ready to set flexible goals. Which means that just one annual appraisal per year is definitely not enough.

Annual Appraisals are conducted to give positive feedback

No way!? Are you joking? You want to give positive feedback and waiting for an Annual Appraisal to do that? Firstly, I believe that positive feedback should be given in front of the team not just during the 1:1 meeting. Secondly, you are willing to wait for months to do that? There are so many great ways how to give positive feedback. For instance, you can give LinkedIn Kudos or invent your own recognition programs. At ISS Australia & New Zealand we have many different recognition programs in place, starting from HERO award and Apple program, finishing with different thank you cards and long service awards.

Annual Appraisals are conducted to give constructive feedback

Do you honestly believe that? It doesn’t matter what kind of feedback you are giving, it always needs to be done ad hoc. How can an organization even be a great employer or successful company in case we do not manage people performance right away? Have you ever heard the saying “Good performance, if notice will go away, poor performance, if not noticed is there to stay”. So think about it is the feedback really a topic that should be discussed during Annual Appraisal?

Annual Appraisals are conducted to set up Personal Development Plan

I am confused now! You have a new employee, an employee who is new in their role or someone who needs coaching and development due to the reason that the job has changed, the technology has developed, or expectations have changed and you are waiting until you are having a 1:1 Annual Appraisal with the person? My advice and you can argue, is – do it as soon as it is needed!

So what should a successful employer who cares about its employees do? My advice is based on the thought that I read today from Paddy McCord’d book “Powerful”. In one of the stories that Paddy shares with her readers, she tells the story how she and Scott Bowman, a returned National Hockey League coach told how his team was so successful, “Well, we have an eighty-game season, and every ten games I would sit down with them individually. I’d bring all their stats and I would ask other people – other coaches, other team members – for feedback also, and the player would bring a self-evaluation. Then we would have a conversation about what to do for the next the games.”

Is this the end of Annual Appraisals? Well, I hope so!

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