Flaws of common review / appraisal process


Bell Curve

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As the title is very straight forward, without going deeper into the context I will directly list down the flaws I have noticed in a common appraisal system followed by most of the companies.

  • Bell curve fitting : Bell curve methodology assumes that all the employees in a company can be divided into three parts a) 15% top performers b) 70% average performers and c) 15% non performers. This methodology is followed from a small team to organisation level. Every team gets divided into these three categories. It compels the rater to a forced ratings instead of a fair one. What if every team member performed well? Rater has to put someone in category C, even if that employee has performed better than the top performer of some other team.
  • Lack of 360 degree feedback :  Its all about manager giving feedback for subordinates but not the reverse. Suppose an employee A reports to B and 10 employees report to A. Feedback of A is collected from B but not from 10 employees who report to him. A’s appraisal shouldn’t completely depend on what B thinks of him, but also on what 10 employees reporting to him thinks of his abilities and leadership skills.
  • Setting over hard working employees as benchmarks : – There are some very hard working employees in every team or company who works more than normal hours at cost of their personal time. Either they love to work for those extra hours or they do it to stand out of the crowd. Managers generally support these people and set the similar benchmarks for others as well. Hence a person working in normal hours gets lesser rating then over hard working employee. To improve his rating he also starts working more than normal hours and hence spoiling the work environment for others who wants to enjoy their personal time. Working more than the contract hours should not be encouraged by managers. And if someone is working with his own choice, others shouldn’t be impacted because of that. Appraisal of everyone shouldn’t be impacted just because someone is working beyond the limits because of his personal interest.
  • Employee in need vs employee who did well : This statement is true for almost every organisation. On papers, review is to be done for the past (a year for annual, 3 months for quarterly review process) performance of employee, but actually it happens the other way. If a person is having future dependency, he is made happy by giving him good review, whereas, if a person has performed extraordinary in last year but doesn’t have much dependencies for coming time period, his efforts are generally ignored.
  • Seeing leaves as a crime : If someone takes leaves for a week or two, its considered as a crime and it affects the final review a lot.
  • No second review : There are no second reviews on final rating. Even if management is convinced that a candidate deserves a better rating, its not changed because most of the time its not there in the policy . This looks unfair.
  • Working on multiple projects : If a person has worked under two different managers in a financial year, he generally doesn’t get a good rating irrespective of his work done. The manager he worked with in past, thinks he has no dependencies on the person, so he gives an average rating (The reason for this is the bell curve again, he has to keep his current team members happier than the former). The manager, he is working with currently also takes care of the people working with him from a long time hence sacrificing rating of this new person. Here both the managers need to understand that rating should be given on the basis of how he performed in the given time period for which he worked.

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