Performance Measurement, Not Appraisal


People don’t always trust performance appraisals. Hardly surprising when they’re often done so badly. Leon Noone suggests a better approach.

We heard recently on BTalk from Michelle Brown at the University of Melbourne, whose research indicated many people in the workforce were cynical of performance appraisals. Reasons included: not enough thought given to the objectives, employees not being given the tools to realise their goals and, of course, the old chestnut, favouritism. Two thirds of our listeners supported what Michelle said, pointing to too much cynicism as the reason performance appraisals didn’t work at their place.

Management consultant Leon Noone agrees its not uncommon. He has written a lot in his Staff Performance Secrets blog about the failings of the performance management approach taken by many big businesses.

In this edition of BTalk he suggests the whole process is often too complicated, involving a myriad of forms from the HR department. He says it shouldn’t be that difficult, and a single sheet of mutually agreed goals, revisited regularly, will always do the trick.

He might be right, but its counter to what John Seddon said in a recent edition of BTalk. He reckons setting goals in any form is counter-productive — those goals are invariably internally focused and they can distract people from doing what they really ought to be doing (irrespective of their role), which is looking after the needs of the customer.

So, are we any the wiser? Well, I’m yet to hear anyone argue that the elaborate process followed by many large corporations is actually working. Simplicity does seem to be the key.

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