Appraisals Don’t Work?

​Lucy Adams the former HR Director of the BBC has claimed that staff appraisals don’t work because they “strike fear into the hearts of employees”

One of her reasons for this view was that “manager’s hate doing appraisals”. She is entitled to her opinion but being a ‘former HR Director’ and especially of the failed BBC probably speaks volumes. Of course it is true that there is a potential for the system to generate fear and be demotivating but that’s more to do with either a poor system and process or lack of any real commitment from both staff and management who maybe uncertain of the objectives/benefits or indeed a combination of both.

I believe that a robust appraisal system is worth its weight in gold to individual employees, managers and an organisation. It can help identify strengths and weaknesses, gaps in skills and knowledge, difficulties and problems restricting performance delivery as well as some significant in-house best practices and opportunities for development.
Spending the time developing a very robust and clear system, free from fear and one in which all parties are fully committed will bring significant benefits including organisational growth, development, loyalty, motivated staff and deliver customer excellence. These are a basic business imperative without which an organisation will only wilt and die on its feet (a bit like the BBC of late?)

The key to success is to ensure that there are ‘no surprises’ during the appraisal process. Standards are clear, expectations are known and targets and objectives fully understood and jointly agreed.
Such a view point coming from a senior HR Director leaves little doubt that there were serious failings within the BBC.

Something we may all need to reflect upon in our own organisations if we are to avoid the same impending fate as the BBC!

It’s one lesson we are keen to avoid and is part of the reason why HR Consultants have been appointed to review our Performance Management and Appraisal system this year and I look forward to the findings and recommendations of their review later in the summer.

© Tony Ruddy 09/06/2014

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