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Latest Survey Says Performance Appraisals Not Effective


Sibson Consulting's latest survey asked senior-level human resources people about their attitudes to the performance management system operating in their organization. In response to the question on whether their employee appraisal system helped their organization achieve its strategic objectives, only 47% answered "Yes". Some 39% neither agreed nor disagreed and 15% positively disagreed. The question we must ask ourselves is why do the people who are tasked with designing and implementing our performance management systems give it a vote of no confidence. In spite of this expressed lack of confidence, 91% of HR people surveyed reported that their organization still had a formal employee appraisal system in place. All the more surprising considering that by their own count, only 30% of their employees trust their performance management system. In the survey, HR professionals identified their most significant challenges in making the system work. Their top three challenges are: • managers lack the courage to have difficult performance conversations with employees (63%) • performance management is viewed as a HR process instead of as a business-critical process (47%) • poor goal setting (36%) Are HR managers waiting to see a useful system emerge following their successful attack on these challenges? Or are they paralyzed into inaction by the enormity of the task or the perceived lack of a viable alternative to what they already have? For many years, HR managers have tinkered around the edges, putting forms online to make appraising managers jobs easier, rolling out more appraisal interview training, adjusting bonus levels and score distributions, and so on. How far have we really progressed in creating a system that is respected by employees and managers alike and that sets the right environment for improved performance? What are you doing with the performance management system in your organization? Are you adjusting it with the hope of achieving the above objectives? Or are you keeping the sick engine going because you don't have another? Or is yours working well? Tell us how your appraisal system is performing and what you have planned for the future. In future blog posts, I will consider other important ramifications of the Sibson Consulting survey. Read my full Sibson Consulting survey report at

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