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Abolishing Performance Appraisals

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Abolishing Performance Appraisals

Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Performance Appraisals: Every dreads them. Should we just get rid of them?

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins pull no punches: They hate performance appraisals. They explain why in their book, which also traces the development of the appraisal method and analyzes why companies have stuck with a tool that simply doesn’t work. Although the authors tend to redundancy, their writing is clear and engaging, and they support their message with passages from major business leaders, scholars, consultants and researchers. Old hands might view their suggested alternatives as pie-in-the-sky solutions to employee management and motivation, but recommends this book to optimistic managers who believe that there must be a better way.


Performance Appraisals Don’t Work

If you are a manager charged with evaluating the performance of a workforce, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you use performance appraisals?
  • Do they accomplish your intended goals?
  • What are their real effects?
  • Do you really need any kind of performance appraisal system?
  • If not, are there alternative ways to accomplish your intended goals?

Do performance appraisals really work? Have they ever worked? Many corporate leaders, managers and scholars are beginning to question whether appraisal is necessary, and whether its destructive, unintended side effects can be overlooked any longer. Appraisal alternatives include more progressive approaches focusing on teamwork, coaching, feedback and empowerment. Many widely held myths and false assumptions underlie the common management strategies associated with the functions of appraisal. Alternative, non-appraisal strategies can deliver the objectives of these functions. Such options give managers and supervisors plenty of freedom to choose the most effective way to work with each individual.

Throughout our work lives, most of...

About the Authors

Tom Coens a labor and employment law attorney and organizational trainer, has 30 years of experience in human resources, quality management and labor law issues. He has done training with hundreds of organizations. Mary Jenkins is founder of Emergent Systems, a consulting firm that assists in developing progressive human resources systems. Her clients have included Saturn, Shell Oil, Kodak, Compaq, Oldsmobile, and the U.S. General Accounting Office.

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