UK employers still believe that employee appraisals can deliver tangible benefits to company and individual performance but the gap between aims and delivery is considerable.
More than a third of employers admit that appraisals do not always live up to expectations, according to research by IRS Employment Review, published by LexisNexis Butterworths.
However employers continue to be generally upbeat about appraisals with almost 91% believing they are an essential management tool. But employers are concerned about appraisal delivery; four in 10 say that they are often badly conducted – particularly if managers are not properly trained or committed to the system – and nearly as many believe there can be too much emphasis on paperwork. Most organisations agreed that identifying training and development needs, aligning individual and organisational objectives, and evaluating performance were the main reasons for appraisals. Nevertheless, just over a third reported that their appraisal systems worked well or very well.
Slightly more were neutral on whether or not appraisals achieved their aims and almost one quarter believed their appraisal systems had failed in some way.
"There is substantial evidence that, in many cases, appraisal systems are not delivering what employers expect," says IRS Employment Review Managing Editor, Mark Crail. "Some hard questions may have to be asked, and appraisal systems that fail to support corporate objectives could find themselves facing an uncertain future."
Louise Farrell, Director of human resources consultancy, Indigo HR, feels that it's not necessarily the appraisal that is causing the difficulties. "The way they are implemented and managed is the big problem. It is important that companies are training managers in order to get them to effect them properly," she explains.
"Companies need to ensure that the appraisal is effective and appropriate for their business, that it is communicated properly, that there is adequate training available for its use and good follow up," Farrell concludes.
The Grapevine, Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Reproduced by kind permission of Executive Grapevine International Ltd