Appraising performance seems to be a difficult thing to accomplish if the actions of Accenture and others is anything to go by.
It need not be as difficult as those organisations ascribe it. In part, what has been reported is poor practices such as not giving informal feedback as close to the time of the observation of a behaviour we want people to repeat or stop. What they are ditching is not performance appraisals so much but poor practices.
Another poor practice, which I believe they will not fix with their new approaches, is consistency in the way in which appraising performance of people is undertaken.
Appraising performance using six independent variables
Performance can be appraised, using any performance appraisal template or an informal approach, against six independent variables at four levels of performance:
- I have performed all of my essential job requirements well
- I have completed the most important of my essential job requirements
- I have completed some of my essential job requirements well but have not completed the most important
- I have not completed any of my essential job requirements
- My output level is well above the norm
- My output level is slightly above the norm
- My output level is about the norm
- My output level is below the norm
- I know enough about my job to coach others
- I know enough about my job to do it independently
- I know enough about my job to only occasionally require help
- I am frequently needing help to complete my essential job requirements
- I accept change easily
- I accept day-to-day changes easily
- I take time to adjust to changes
- I resent changes
- I take on other tasks when appropriate without prompting and complete all my essential job requirements
- I always start my essential job requirements without prompting
- I mostly start my essential job requirements without prompting
- I often need prompting to complete my essential job requirements
- I always do what I say I will do and warn others when a problem occurs
- I almost always do what I say I will do and warn others when a problem occurs
- I sometimes do not do what I say I will do and I rarely warn others if a problem occurs
- I often do not do what I say I will do and I do not warn others when a problem occurs
Note that, in using these six independent variables, we still need to have some moderated view of what the ‘norm’ is. Appraising performance in an organisation of any reasonable size cannot operate as an independent action of managers and team leaders.