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Wednesday 30th July 2014

The appraisal praised

Appraisals have been around a long time. Shouldn't we just accept their worth and get on with it?

It’s coming up to one of the highlights of the HR year – yes, folks, it’s mid-year appraisal time! Calm down, now.

And as sure as night follows day, when mid-year appraisal time rolls around, it’s accompanied by a chorus of whingeing about how the appraisal system doesn’t work.

Of course, this whingeing doesn’t come from employees. No, employees already know they hate appraisals so they just grin and bear it. Besides, if they complained it would only be used as ammunition against them in their mid-year appraisal. Catch 22, and all that.

Instead, the moans we endure mostly come from the HR world itself – mainly from those ‘thought leaders’ that we all depend on to tell us how to safely make it out of the house and to the office every day. God knows where we’d be without them.

And so, the usual stream of features, blogs and tweets has erupted, telling us all about how the appraisal system is ‘broken’, ‘not fit for purpose’, or ‘torture’.

When HR’s Twitter Pied Piper himself, Neil Morrison, is blogging about something, you can bank on his followers to echo his complaints. So the annual debate has kicked off again, with lots of complaining, but very few solutions knocking around. (You can put your money on the same debate happening next year, and the year after – just as it’s been going on for years already.)

I’ve lost count of how many ‘thought pieces’ I’ve seen on this well-worn topic, year after year. And still, no fix in sight. But if the HR world hates appraisals so much, why hasn’t it replaced them with something better? It’s had plenty of time to come up with something.

Or is it simply that the appraisal system has been around for so long because it just works?

It might be unpleasant, but it’s important. Like a visit to the dentist.

Perhaps those who don’t like it just haven’t got round to using it properly. A bad workman blames his tools, after all.

You know what I don’t like? Public transport. But 33 penalty points – not to mention losing the Audi in a game of cards – means I’ve got to use it. On those days I leave the house, anyway.

Final word: if an alternative’s needed, do your best to find it rather than spending so much time moaning.

About the author

The Villain

The Villain is not here to be nice.