Performance Appraisals Made Easy

…now all you have to do is push a button.

That’s right — I just read one of those annoying pop-up ads on a human resource oriented website, and that’s what it said. Make ’em easy… a push of a button.

The problem, of course, is we frequently confuse performance appraisals with performance management. We make the appraisal process so damn onerous that no one wants to do anything but the appraisals… forgetting, of course, why we do those silly things in the first place.

Here’s a clue: it’s not for the documentation. Many will tell you that this documentation is essential; and sometimes it may be. Some of the best advice I ever received was from an outside counsel (who later was at Administaff as their Corporate General Counsel), when he said:

Never use the lower right hand corner on an employee performance appraisal form; that’s where the law clerks for a plaintiff like to stamp exhibit #4.

And there’s a measure of truth to that.

But back to the topic… the real reason we do appraisals — those pesky documents that HR insists on getting in some timely fashion, badgering us until we break down and complete them — is simply to memorialize the performance management discussion.

That’s right, friends, performance management comes first; performance appraisals, then, are just the paperwork cleanup.

So, go ahead. Make Performance Appraisals so easy it takes just a push of a button. But don’t water down the real reason: managing employee performance. Because, frankly, that’s the only piece of that equation that really matters.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann


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