By David Rawles
Special to Inside The Pew

Performance Reviews – Are they good for you or bad for you? Are they a complete waste of time?

According to an article I recently read, the author flatly stated the traditional annual performance appraisal needs to be replaced because it doesn’t improve performance. David RawlesThat seems akin to saying that if a car you own proves to be a lemon, you ought not drive cars anymore, rather get a moped, or take the bus.

We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Rather, we need to fix the appraisal process when it is broken. We think it right for teachers to correct a student’s poor performance. We coach members of athletic teams when outcomes are unsuccessful. It seems successful behavior modification is based the quality of the appraisal process, not because an appraisal is or isn’t used.

A successful appraisal process includes several critical elements:

  • Equal participation by both the supervisor and the supervised.
  • Clear understanding up front, of the expected behaviors and results.
  • Regular communication discussing progress during the year.
  • Time & privacy is allotted to fully discuss the metrics, results and expectations.
  • Agreement on what changes will be expected in the future.

Equal participation simply provides for the supervisor to fully understand what the subordinates believe they have done well and not so well. When I had a large staff, I often reminded each member that they were far better informed about many of their behaviors and results than I was, being they were with themselves constantly. By allowing subordinate participation, supervisors becomes better informed, enable themselves confirmation of their beliefs, and learn better what future corrections may be necessary.

The beginning of the appraisal period should be marked by the establishment of goals and expected outcomes and results. These need to be agreed upon by both parties. Experience has taught me that when subordinates take the lead in this process, and understand the supervisors own goals, most subordinates will set aggressive, supportive objectives.

If the subordinate is surprised at the end of the appraisal period by the views of the supervisor, it is the fault of the supervisor. Performance should be regularly discussed. Disappointments should be shared. And if goals need to be revised, up or down, both parties should not wait until year-end. That never helps the performance or the relationship.

At the end of the performance period the appraisal discussion should be scheduled allowing plenty of time to talk through all issues, in a location without interruptions. Cutting corners on this meeting can have a negative effect on the following year’s performance. And if the allotted time is not enough, the flexibility to schedule a second follow-on session is very helpful.

Finally, once both parties can then agree what needs to be changed, what goals are to be achieved during the next performance period, and what improvements, if any, are expected, it is much more likely performance will be improved and both parties will be pleased.

David Rawles is an HR Executive devoting his life to helping others achieve significance. He is the founder and president of CareerSolutions, a Christian non-profit organization devoted to helping people locate, land, and succeed in their careers. More info at

Related stories

Ministry schedules job fair in Euless 4/16/2012

Leave a Reply