Appraisals are dead! Long live performance reviews

Many of the world’s leading organisations are ditching their appraisal processes. They are leading the way in terms of a radical re-think on how we seek to ensure high performance or at the very least, compliance.

Why is this happening though? Surely it is madness to completely abandon setting quality time aside to meet one to one with your team and discuss their overall performance?

To understand this let us examine some facts:

Fact 1: How many of us hand on heart can say that our team members look forward to their regular one to ones?

In a recent experiment we tested whether people viewed the process positively or negatively by asking them to place an X on a sliding scale with Very negatively down one end and very positively at the other end. 75% of a sample size of over 100 people placed their X at the negative end of the line. If this is representative of the overall workforce then the process is largely viewed with some trepidation or even in some cases fear. Trepidation and fear as some of us know causes our bodies to secrete higher levels of cortisol, a chemical which can in higher concentrations inhibit our ability to think rationally. Not the best preparation for your annual appraisal!

Fact 2: The make up of our workforce is changing.

We now have within that workforce the “Z” generation, the first of the generations to have grown up completely within a digital age. And then of course we have the much talked about millennials (or Y generation) who are known to have sometimes radically different expectations to the X generation - and even the so-called baby boomer generation who are also still present within the workforce. Generations Y (millennial) and Z are known to favour instant feedback and reward. They are not used to waiting for things, like many of the X and baby boomer generations are. Therefore, the traditional 6 monthly or annual sit down just doesn’t work.

Fact 3: We now live in a VUCA world.

The VUCA world is a fast-paced place where change can happen overnight and there is far less predictability. The very nature of this new world is leading organisations to have to react faster, take key decisions faster and devolve far more decision-making responsibilities, sometimes just to survive. Waiting 9 months for an opportunity to sit down and discuss with your team member how they might adopt a different approach is just not going to cut it.

The solution therefore is a radical re-thing of the whole performance review process: more in-the-moment coaching, more instant feedback, more focus on emotional intelligence, greater understanding of risk, and how to make it work for you, rather than against you.

At Linac Learning we have developed a new cutting-edge masterclass for your leaders to help them navigate changing approaches to appraisals and line management. To find out more please get in touch with us on 01242 529822, or drop us an email at