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Is this the end of the performance appraisal?

Accenture are in the process of taking out their performance appraisal system and in doing so have joined a line of companies moving in this direction. In October 2013 I chaired the CIPD performance management conference in London and shortly afterwards blogged about Adobe doing the same thing. But still, Accenture taking this set is still news.

Why would Accenture do this? Basically they don’t think all the time and effort required to do performance appraisals are worth it!

Now that doesn’t mean people in organisations shouldn’t talk about performance. That is essential and our research has shown how important those conversations are in direction setting, influencing behaviour and enabling the organisation to learn. However, having an open and honest discussion about performance is very different to being rated. Being rated means that you have to show how good you are and how good your performance has been. Whilst the organisation is trying to be objective, it is nearly impossible to be so, because the objective was set a long time ago and since then things have changed. For the better, and weren’t you luck? But you will put it down to all your skill and hard work. For the worse and weren’t you unlucky? Of course you were, the environment changed and there were forces outside your control. So people tell stories, and bosses have the unenviable job of trying to distinguish between fact and fiction and all the shades of grey in between.

And if you pay bonuses based on these discussions, you are into the next level of time and effort absorbing behaviour with forcing ranking of individuals across the whole organisation and all that involves including the complete breakdown of the relationship between the manager and their subordinates.

So another nail in the performance appraisal and probably not before time either!

Mike Bourne

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