Why Employee Appraisals are Rarely a Good Idea!

Managers will often say that employee appraisals are ‘necessary’, but research shows that conducting employee appraisals (or performance reviews as they are commonly known) can be damaging to the morale of your department and actually cause worry for your employees.

Why are performance appraisals required?

Typically, performance appraisals serve as an effective way of measuring an employee’s progression and development in line with pre-set targets and goals. They are usually conducted a minimum of once per year, however many offices encourage at least one appraisal to take place every quarter.

The objective of an employee appraisal should be to give the employee a clear indication of how they are performing in the eyes of management, areas they should improve on and recognition they are owed for achieving their targets. This is fine when an employee is performing well and knows it, but the prospect of attending a performance review can be rather daunting for employees who are not so confident.

The downsides of employee appraisals

#1 The prospect of an appraisal can cause worry and anxiousness for employees.

#2 Appraisals can create a negative feeling amongst employees.

#3 Information discussed in an appraisal is not always a true reflection of the employee’s performance. This is down to the fact that information given by the employee could be fabricated in order to gain a better review by management.

#4 Appraisals take up a lot of time, energy and resources, especially if your company employs a large number of employees! The time spent giving appraisals, and production time lost due to employees attending appraisals, may negatively affect your business.

#5 Oftentimes, appraisals are blind sighted by biased or prejudice opinions by management. Even when employees are not performing well, if they are the ‘manager’s favorite employee’ then it is highly unlikely the employee would receive a bad review.

#6 Managers need to have an in-depth understanding of each employee’s work, progression, targets, responsibilities and recent issues in order to conduct a fair and objective performance review, which is not only time consuming but very difficult for a manager who also has their own workload to get through!

#7 Feedback provided by management in a performance review can cause more harm than good. Whether the feedback is negative and upsets the employee, or is good and pushes the employee into a false sense of security, either outcome would have a detrimental effect on the employee and department productivity.

#8 Irregular or unsuspecting appraisals are damaging to employee confidence and business procedures. There needs to be a specified time and method followed when it comes to doing appraisals, and giving employees little or no notice before a review is to be performed will worry them unduly.  

Overall, employee appraisals whilst good in some aspects, can also cause more harm than good for many business operations. Essentially, the need to conduct an appraisal will depend on the type of business you operate, number of employees you have and the type of supervision you have over your staff. If for example, you give your staff regular feedback and are on hand for support and assistance, then appraisals may be redundant to your management style. If you are rarely in the office however, or you have many people working for you and targets need to be monitored, then performance reviews could help you significantly.


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