I often wonder why companies think the current way of doing Performance Appraisals are actually effective (you know, a few times a year, you sit with your manager and he tells you what a good/bad boy you were). For me they’re unnecessary and this is why: Firstly, “appraising” someones “performance” is something that should have the goal of INDIVIDUAL self improvement (for the appraised) in whatever areas he feels would improve his ability to deliver work, it shouldn’t be some blanket template applied to a group of employees (ok, you lot are “Developers” and you lot are “Senior Developers”) but rather a personal negotiated path to improvement. Secondly it should be something that occurs continuously, not a few times a year; self improvement doesn’t happen in leaps and bounds, it happens in tiny steps, learning from your mistakes and building on your successes.
I have a theory though as to why they still occur. Traditional “managers” exist to micromanage and ensure maximum productivity out of employees. Their focus is on creating the “perfect employee” that will obey orders and sacrifice all for “the company” without little or no concern for the employee as a person. What they’ve then done is pawned off the responsibilty of dealing with “human” issues (self improvement etc) to the dreaded Human Resources department, a set of people divorced from the actual work environment of the employee who apply templates to people in order to shape them into a perfect little workforce. What a crock of shit. How about managers step up to the plate and do what they should be doing: creating the environment for people to excel in, helping employees find paths to individual self improvement and backing off and letting people do what they were HIRED to do? Then we can finally get rid of the HR department and bring the responsibility back to where it should be, firmly in the hands of your leader.