So… what happened to XYZ Corporation’s employee appraisal process?
After implementation of the software, training, and completion of the first annual review of staff with the new appraisal system, something interesting was apparent. The appraisal process was no better than before. Appraisals that were supposed to “write themselves” turned out to be shallow, trite, and not particularly representative of the employee or their job. Many managers stated that starting with, and editing, the system-generated material was more difficult than preparing their own fresh draft. In fact, the “don’t know how to write” assessment was denied by fully articulated and expressive e-mails on the part of managers.
As far as the adherence to timeliness for submission of drafts and final appraisals: there was no improvement. It turned out that automated reminders from the appraisal system were viewed no differently than the reminders that had been sent from HR in the past – and through the same e-mail system. The recipient viewed appraisal reminders from any source no differently: They were all essentially “HR.” One is as easily ignored, or obeyed, as another. As far as tracking the appraisals HR now had a new burden they hadn’t anticipated – the generation of status reports regarding appraisal production. The reports capability was paired with the expectation they had set with their senior management; hence the new burden to produce and speak to these reports in management meetings. Actually, efficiency for all concerned the first year was diminished due to the learning curve, and in everyone’s requirement to “machinate” the process surrounding production of simple text appraisals.
Even worse, the second year’s effectiveness was no better. In fact, it seemed to be poorer. Because appraisals were annual, the organization’s managers didn’t think about the appraisal application for 10 or 11 months (excepting special appraisals such as probationary). They were “rusty” each year. Some managers needed refresher training. Everyone stumbled through the application inefficiently until reacquainting with it. Therefore, what was supposed to be a “solution” was now a contributor to a larger, layered, problem – to say nothing of having another software suite for the organization to maintain.
How could this have happened? The organization was confused. What happened to their investment? Where was their return? Indeed, there was no positive return – there was a negative return. They were now saddled with expensive software, along with the upgrade schedule required by all business software, with the attendant support burden – HelpDesk, backoffice, and annual user refresher training. Where did XYZ Corporation go wrong?
Next, we’ll examine…