Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Appraising Appraisals

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Appraising Appraisals

Article excerpt

Management guru Edward Deming once called performance appraisals a deadly disease. Many employees -- and the supervisors assigned to write them -- agree.

The annual employee evaluation, especially when tied to "and here's what your raise will be," is an atrocious practice.

Here's why:

* Many managers aren't properly trained in how to give constructive feedback.

* "One size fits all" appraisal forms make a mockery of individual assessments.

* It takes time to do appraisals well, and most managers are too busy to devote that time.

* Once a year is not enough to provide usable job improvement guidance.

* Appraisals are supposed to be self-improvement tools. Instead, they're often interpreted as punishment and justification for tiny raises.

* Evaluations shouldn't be one-way communication. The best ones foster dialogue.

There are plenty of human resource specialists who sell consulting services and products designed to stop the annual plague of poorly done appraisals. Chief among their suggestions is the 360- degree, or multisource, assessment.

The very mention, however well intentioned, makes some managers sweat.

If you think single-source appraisals are time-consuming and badly done by overstressed, ill-trained supervisors, just think of the ripple effect when a whole bunch of people -- supervisors, peers and subordinates -- are asked to weigh in as well.

According to current "best practice" thinking, 360-degree evaluations are a better way to get a variety of informed opinions about an individual's work and share good suggestions for improvement. …

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