When Traditional Performance Appraisal became Cindrella’s Shoe...

If it really fit her so uniquely, why did it fall off in the first place? Or - If Performance Appraisals work, why do they have such a grey reputation?

Some leading and hard-wired corporates have started asking the question that challenges the ritual called ‘performance appraisal’…

Debunking Expiry-Date-Old Appraisals

Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Gap etc have opened the exit door for old-fangled appraisal psychology. Right from Deloitte’s overhaul of annual consensus meetings to Accenture’s very recent tick-off of the annual performance review process, the practice of forced ranking and distribution is finally coming under the shredder.
Frankly, it was about time.

For how can any appraisal method serve even its theoretical purpose of assessing employees well, when all this system does is set employees against each other with a blind eye and a biased ear; all the time reeking of subjectivity, errors, aberrations and all sorts of systemic flaws?

Performance management is a critical ingredient of organizational engagement and development. Ask this to yourself – Are the highest-scoring employees necessarily the best performers? Aren’t most performance management systems just ‘bells and whistles’ with all their workflows, notifications and alerts, and are conspicuously devoid of any actionable insights into employees' actual work? Do they hint of any semblance of purpose as management tools?

We will let the axe fall in one quick stroke now.

What’s wrong with current appraisal systems?

They should be fluid, ongoing, accurate, consistent, simple, cost-effective and sensitive to unique traits and skills. But instead, they are antagonistic, back-ward looking, reactive, cumbersome, expensive, complicated (unnecessarily) and ‘paint-everyone-with-the-same-brush’ universal.

Ratings have been used since some early decades of third century in China; since the early eighteen-hundreds at the cotton mills in Scotland in form of coded blocks, but alas, they have often been wrong-footed when it comes down to ‘really’ assessing and spurring employees.

Now the important question…

The right way to write appraisals

If only there was a realization and a solution for performance evaluation approaches to be simple, with clarity of purpose, relevance, excitement, elegance and user-friendliness, then the corporate world would be a more sure-footed place than it is now.


In a Ted Talk video, the speaker reasons pointedly that this day can be the ultimate performance review of one’s life and a pretty rounded 360 degree feedback at that.

What if employees could enjoy diaries that recorded actual accounts of performance? What if people who actually come under an employee’s radar piped in to evaluate the employee? Better and fairer? What if the whole exercise was proactive, liquid, and actionable?

If you give a glance at the underpinnings and mapping of Ramco's Performance Management System, you can notice why there is a built-in Performance Journal or room for a shorter, regular assessment cycle where feedback is provided and addressed in real time.

A system where employees can monitor their own progress in the Performance Journal and measure it against key performance indicators can bring the very change that this dull world of appraisals needs. The Journal not only monitors employees and systematically collects employee information, but it also equips managers to analyse the data, detect problems at an early stage, and consequentially make proactive decisions for employee development.

Globally, investment in corporate HR technology is witnessing an exponential clip and the 2015 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey from Towers Watson augurs that 88% plan to spend the same amount or more on HR technology and systems this year compared to last year. Plus about 79% of those organizations that use technology for global grading/job leveling and core compensation activities find the technology to be effective.
You can be a manager or a CXO who is complacent enough to follow traditions. Or you could rather smell the coffee before the crowd catches up.

Why not ask yourself and your HR systems some uncomfortable questions? Sometimes they can be fun.

Like – why in the world, do baby clothes have pockets?

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