Part 1 - Performance Appraisals Are Not Popular or Effective unless…


- Part one of two – why traditional annual performance reviews fail and which areas to address

Annual Performance Appraisals were created to  provide effective feedback to employees – and have been unpopular since their inception.

Feedback is essential to ensure that each employee’s personal goals – that were previously set in line with the organisational strategy – are achieved. Rather than staging an ineffective annual ambush, we will outline a method to engage and empower your employees to perform at their peak.


Why performance appraisals are not popular – What the research says

Many of us have experienced the Annual Performance Review where feedback on the performance of a complex human being is mostly reduced to an unfair to middling salary review. This approach, sadly too common, has never been effective in creating high performing individuals or organisations, because the feedback it provides is limited in both scope and quality.

Research in this area, for example Brown et al (2010)[1], has demonstrated that employees who receive low quality performance appraisals are less satisfied with their jobs. These employees tend to have lower levels of organisational commitment and they are more likely to consider quitting their job.

Narcisse and Harcourt (2008)[2] explain that for a performance appraisal to be fair, it must meet three criteria:

1.     Distributive justice, where the employee perceives that their performance appraisal is fair relative to their peers;

2.     Procedural justice, where the employee believes the process and procedures of the performance appraisal are fair; and finally,

3.     Interpersonal justice, which reflects how well the employees are treated whilst executing procedures or determining outcomes.

The consequences of this are that all staff involved in the performance management process, both appraiser and appraise must be well trained in how to conduct good performance assessments. Employees must give input into setting their individual performance standards in line with organisational goals. Pay, advancement and recognition must align to the results of performance reviews.  Throughout the process, managers and supervisors must demonstrate their understanding of the role and goals of the employee and they must treat the employee fairly and equitably in order to develop a good relationship over time.

It doesn’t matter how good a performance management system or a performance appraisal is in theory. If it’s not aligned to the individual and organisational goals, or it’s perceived to be poorly administered and therefore unfair, or the link to reward is unclear, then the system will fail to deliver the required results.


[1] Brown, M, Hyatt, D & Benson, J 2010, ‘Consequences of the performance appraisal experience,’ Personnel Review, vol. 39 iss.3, pp. 375-396.

[2] Narcisse, S and Harcourt, M 2008, ‘Employee fairness perceptions of performance appraisal: a Saint Lucian case study’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19, No. 6, pp.1152–1169.

See Part 2  for how to provide and receive effective one on one feedback.


Design • Implement • Support

Through our blog, we wish to give you a comprehensive insight into the world of Intrepidus HR, where our overall goal is to inspire businesses to improve themselves and their people.

Do you wish to discuss a particular business improvement topic or even contribute a guest Blog article? If yes, please contact Simon Campbell at Intrepidus Human Resource Consulting.

If you or your organisation requires input or assistance in establishing or enhancing your positive organisational culture, please contact Intrepidus Human Resources Consulting for assistance.  Intrepidus can assist with the design, implementation and support of employee surveys, analysis and action plans, employee briefings, and employee communication and engagement initiatives. 

Furthermore, contact Intrepidus for assistance with one on one performance feedback for teams and individuals and all your complex human work issues.


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Intrepidus Human Resource Consulting

Intrepidus is a human resources and industrial relations consultancy based out of Melbourne. We help clients with difficult people issues, HR & IR strategy, and more. If you want to find out how we assist with workplace issues, you can contact us at  or give us a ring on +61 401 716 818.