Accurate Vs. Useful

Sorry for the low res picture, kids.  USA Today doesn’t get their snapshots online very quickly.  Saw this over breakfast in the hotel (the only time you’ll ever catch me reading these summaries of yesterday’s news) and needed to share.

So, 61% of HR Managers think that annual reviews are an accurate appraisal of employees’ work.  That says nothing about effective appraisals though, right?  Almost every HR Manager I know hates annual reviews.  So do the line and staff managers.  So do the employees.  But yet we find them accurate.

Yes, you can probably summarize what someone did in the last year accurately.  Fine.  I guess I agree as well.  But these aren’t useful meetings, usually.  And they aren’t fun.  So stop it.  Dr. Demming told us for years that appraisals are a waste and, as usual, he was right.  Just as you don’t punish your dog once a year for chewing up the furniture or give him an annual treat for sitting up, employees cannot learn to adjust or maintain behavior with once a year feedback.  I know it, you know it, they know it.

I’m headed to the 2011 HR Technology Conference next week, which is filled to the rim with technology vendors that will show you how to give great, useful feedback every day to employees.  The tools are out there for you to use, and can help you shift from annual pain to daily learning in your appraisal process.

Stop wasting your time and theirs on annual appraisals.  Start talking to people and learning with them.  You’ll be glad you did.

And USA Today, stop using misleading meaningless graphics.  See, instant feedback.  Maybe they’ll be better tomorrow.


  1. I agreed with you… Performance is the thing which is qualitative… And its appraisals can be near to facts but not exact…. So managers should keep this thing in mind and must do decisions after confirmation of ground realities..

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