There are several reasons to appraise subordinates performance. First, appraisals play, or should play, an integral role in the employer’s performance management process; it does little good to translate the employer’s strategic goals into specific employees’ goals, and then train the employees. Second, the appraisal lets the boss and subordinate develop a plan for correcting any deficiencies the appraisal might have unearthed, and to reinforce the things the subordinate does correctly. Third, appraisals should serve a useful career planning purpose by providing the opportunity to review the employee’s career plans in light of his or her exhibited strengths and weakness. And, last but not least, the appraisal almost always affect the employer’s salary raise and promotional decisions.
In reviewing the appraisal tools we discuss below don’t miss the forest for the trees. It doesn’t matter which tool you use if you’re less than candid when your subordinate is under-performing. Not all managers are devotees of such candor, but some firms like GE are famous for hard-hearted appraisals. GE’s former CEO, Jack Welch is of the opinion that, for instance, that there’s nothing crueler than telling someone who’s doing a mediocre job that he or she is doing well. Someone who might have had the chance to correct bad behavior or find a more appropriate vocation may instead end up spending years in a dead-end situation, only to leave when a tough boss comes along.
There are many practical motivations for giving soft appraisals: the fear of having to hire and train someone new; the unpleasant reaction of the appraisee; or a company appraisal process that’s not conducive to candor for instance.… Read the rest