Posted by: Rebecca Lancelles-Foskett

Posted on: .

Does your company need to ditch the annual appraisal system?

Oakleaf Partnership hosted one of our popular networking breakfasts this week with accomplished trainer and business owner Paul Marsh from Lightbulb, who discussed the effectiveness of annual appraisals and objective setting. Recent statistics show that only 19% of employees think their appraisal system is effective!

HOT questions and topics

Reviewing what you currently do and then changing your paperwork isn’t enough! Paul discussed alternative methods to a ‘formal appraisal’, giving managers better tools to get this right in their own workplace. Prompts on job performance (rather than paperwork or dedicated formal meetings) could also be an effective way of altering your organisation's appraisal system.

Many of the attendees discussed at length how hard it is to ensure meetings of this ilk are meaningful and effective. Paul was able to highlight strategic help to define and design powerful and meaningful performance objectives in our own environments, with incredibly useful techniques and tips for success.

Some key questions discussed were:

  • How do we qualify the quality of performance/development objectives?
  • How performance is measured and by what standard
  • The volume of paperwork and its content/format – the effectiveness of ‘less is more’
  • Is the appraisal system in order to attain additional pay and/OR bonus?
  • How do we get managers in our businesses to truly understand what is effective and what isn’t?

Key learning points discussed included:

  • Understand your people in terms of their role in the business. It’s important to understand and take into consideration that each person you are managing is different and should therefore be managed and appraised differently
  • Online systems are not easier, less personal and less effective
  • Cut appraisals down to ‘next to nothing’ and completely if needed
  • Conversations with your people as and when needed, door is always open policy, 365 days a year
  • Ditch ratings in appraisals (often companies rate but with no reward)
  • 64% of people think they are higher than the rating you have given them - this invites conflict and it breeds disappointment

Let’s try to aim for:

  • Tailored conversations
  • Quality control – is everyone getting what they want?
  • Objectives – Goal finders, what are they and mutually agree them
  • Behaviour – Ditch the jargon, ditch the buzzwords, ditch the competencies. Use plain English to understand real life alternatives
  • All the tools – support the process with business tools and documents

The event was a huge success with a fantastic contribution from every attendee. Please contact to find out more about future events run by our Commerce & Industry team.

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