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Around the Web – Value of staff appraisals called into question

21 November 2012

UK employees are not seeing any benefit from appraising their own performance according to research published today by recruitment consultancy Badenoch and Clark, as reported by the specialist website, HR magazine.

The research claims that appraisals, if not carried out effectively, could become a tick-box exercise that wastes time for organisations and fails to contribute towards real career development for employees.

HR director at River Island, Karen Beaven, told HR magazine: "Deciding on whether appraisals are a good idea or not depends on what key stakeholders want to get out of it. It's up to HR directors to get to the root of that question before deciding on a process and ensuring that the message is communicated at all levels."

The research found that over a third of UK workers (37%) believe appraisals are a waste of time and do not contribute towards their personal career development at all.

The research also found that while a third of employees dedicate one-day's work a year to appraisals, many see it as a pointless exercise.

Beaven continued: "The best appraisal processes are clearly aligned with commercial business goals and individual targets, often supported by some form of personal development plan owned by the individual too.

"They have to be meaningful and delivered in the right context for the organisation, otherwise yes, they could be a waste of time."

Simon Linares, HR director at Telefonica Digital told HR magazine: "Appraisals are actually a very good idea but need to place the employee at the centre of the process.

"They are key to an open and transparent culture and create alignment around what is going well and what isn't - so there are no surprises basically. But appraisals are just one part of any good process and can obviously prompt conversations to happen."

He added: "It is the conversations that actually add the most value. Ideally, these conversations are regular so that feedback is up to date - an appraisal is just one of the more formal ways to document them."

Nicola Linkleter, managing director of Badenoch & Clark said: "Many organisations adopt a 'once a year' approach towards appraisals which means the process is scheduled and collation of employee feedback is often carried out through standardised forms or systems.

"There is nothing inherently wrong with this but to gain the full benefits of appraisals for both the organisation and the individual involved it is important that personal development and assessment doesn't stop there."

Mark Hodgson practice leader of talent management at Right Management said: "A key concern is the role that appraisals can play in identifying talent. We know from our own work and recent research, that appraisals if conducted properly, provide organisations with significant insights into the selection of high potentials for development.

"If the process is flawed, it could have a knock on effect for the effectiveness of development programmes, impacting future talent pipeline and succession."

Beaven added: "There is no one size fits all approach here and there have been times when I have been tempted to ditch a formal appraisal process and move towards a more real-time performance development process instead. That's worth considering depending on the nature of the industry and the size of the population you are working with."

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