More comanies going for "Investors in People"
So need the Appraisal tick-in-the-box. I'm not surprised by the results, especially since it was raised by Investors in People.
Almost half of employees think that their boss is dishonest during appraisal processes, while a third think the whole process is a waste of time, according to research by productivity body Investors in People. The survey found that 44 per cent of workers had had appraisals in which they thought their superior had been …
So need the Appraisal tick-in-the-box. I'm not surprised by the results, especially since it was raised by Investors in People.
It's certainly true that they are a waste of time, but that's been the case for at least twenty years.
The bottom line is that if the only way you've got of letting your staff know how they are doing si to speak to them once a year, then you've already lost. If your boss gives more regular feedback, then the annual review is pointless anyway.
The other problem is that most companies link the review to pay, which means managers are often in a position where they can't say anything positive because they haven't the budget to give a pay rise.
So, sack the HR department, stop the reviews and use the savings to have a party, at least staff moral might go up!
I spent several years in the late 1990s working in the Civil Service, where the annual performance review was a source of constant anxiety and tension. In the Civil Service, you see, your annual appraisal determines the size of your pay rise and also whether you are eligible to be considered for promotion.
As a result, everyone in my institute spent six months of each year getting increasingly paranoid and stressed about their forthcoming appraisal. Once the appraisal was finished, we all then spent six months complaining about the unfairness of the outcome and how our managers had denied us a decent pay rise.
I've had a number of projects list on an appraisal, but come the actual appraisal half of them have been ditched and other projects have taken their place but they don't get mentioned as they weren't a "goal" from the last appraisal.
In this case pointless is definitely an understatement.
...to show your next employer after your current one ignores everything in it
W Edwards Deming made precisely this point in his 1982 book, "Out of the Crisis". Everyone in Western industry ignored him!
I've worked in several companies, and the appraisal process was different every time. In one, nobody trusted the whole thing since it was a foregone conclusion that the ones getting bonuses or perks had already been chosen, and that's exactly what happened. In another, the appraisal process was a very formal thing, with an HR psychologist interview first, a week for analysis of interview, then review of analysis with employer, but for all that hubbub nothing ever came out of the whole waste of time. I've witnessed civil service appraisals as well (safely from my contractors' position) and I must say it was almost funny seeing how so many people took the thing seriously when the managers had already decided which gorgeous personal secretary was going to accompany them on the bonus trip to Paradise Isle.
Right now, the company I'm in is the fairest in my view. Funny though, there is no yearly appraisal - my boss actually talks to me more than once a month, and lets me know his opinion of on an ongoing basis (whether good or bad). I rather like that.
Yet another process is identified as going wrong because it focuses on the wrong thing.
Its the concept of management getting involved with their people in order to help them get the best job done that is required.
Easy ! Isnt it ?
Instead, the focus that IIP pushes is on make-sure-you-do-this-yearly !
So, the big, (and not-so-big), stupid, corporates alienate their people by pushing management to do another thing they dont understand how to do properly.
Anyway, I think the only people who are good at reviews are the ones who really dont want to do management in the first place !
Every year I do them. My boss agrees I met most of my objectives and that I worked well. And every year I don't get a payrise because I work for a stupid tight-fisted company who don't give a shit about their staff. So where is the incentive to work hard? I still won't get a payrise.
I remember one year when our boss spent our appraisal period telling us what all the other members of the department had been saying about us.
And it was all lies.
He was too stupid to realise that we all compared notes about what he said, rendering his divide-and-rule attempts useless!
We all know the real reason for appraisals. Without them HR would have very little to do. Its just like all the other mindless crap that comes out of HR departments. A lot of pointless waffle.
The best thing about appraisals is that it gives you some nicely packaged achievements that you can drop into your CV when you're looking for a new job.
Actually, since I started working for a startup a couple of years ago I haven't had any appraisals. Can't say I miss them.
I became a contractor, no performance reviews. Oh, and the extra cash.
Even after a stellar year, the managers would find something to mark you down on. Client contact - when I had three layers of BA's between me and the client. My chance of having any client contact was nil, but there it was as part of my objectives, which I obviously failed. Therefore crap bonus and payrise.
... is never having to give or receive an annual appraisal ever again! Yippee!!
Recommended Reading: "Up the organisation" by Robert Townsend. It may be 35 years old, but remains one of the best (and funniest) books on business management.
Investors in People is complete bollocks, always was. At a company I worked at they cherry-picked the most obvious arselickers/company men to present to Investors in People who then almost immediately listed us as Investors in People organisation based on a self-selected survey. They didn't interview any staff randomly who might mention the company was a shit-house. Mind you the results are consistent with what everyone thinks of appraisals, pointless and arbitrary form-filling that results in sod-all.
" "It's a great chance for managers to make sure their employees feel challenged and valued for the year ahead, rather than unmotivated and without guidance," he said. "
I remember refusing to sign one once as I couldn't agree with just about anything on it. "So who's this then?" I asked. "It certainly isn't me". All sorts of crap about 'poor customer focus' when I'd been coming in at weekends to meet the customer's needs rather than the rather large telecoms firm I worked for. Even had chats with my manager on several Sundays - at work and not over the phone.
I was told "I had to sign" - "What that I agree with this?" - "Yes!".
So I got to see the bosses boss who told me the same thing and I still refused.
Worked out in the end that if they didn't get them all signed off then their respective bonuses would be affected as they weren't getting all their 'people stuff' boxed ticked.
Mind you, when asked about my 'future development within the company' ie 'you should be looking for promotion' (to be a manager???) "What do you want to be" - I said I always wanted to be a train driver or an astronaut. Well, if they're going to be silly, I might as well join in.
Its a complete waste of time here, the manager just ticks the middle box to maintain the status quo. Any of the low boxes, you'd have to be given training or the sack, and of the high boxes and you might deserve a pay raise.
Let's see, half (50%) of people get a below average appraisal, and presumably therefore a below average raise. Roughly half of people (48%) think the whole process is screwed up. Do you suppose there's a correllation? Do you suppose your answer to the last question is correllated to your status on the first two?
I once worled at a company with a good appraisal process, but had an evil game-playing manager. He decided he wanted to give me an unsatisfactory performance appraisal, so he set the final number and then tried to fit the data.
But to do that he had to come up with rationalizations. And the short story is, he couldn't. His bosses and the HR department knew me too well (and I was a reasonably high performer). While this manager did eventually run my whole division into the ground so that 19 engineers, 12 sales support and maybe 50 manufacturing guys lost thier jobs, I'm pleased to say that he preceeded us into the void by several months.
Yes, if you only get feedback once a year, it's a poor show. But is it better to never get any? The performance review process forms a framework around salary increases. Is it better to have to go ask for even so much as a cost-of-living increase because there's no automatic process at your company? Do you like living with no policy, so that your salary increase or termination is at your boss-of-the-moment's whimsy?
Periodic performance appraisals are the worst system, except for all the others.
Ahh, civil service annual reviews. I don't miss them.
For years I got the top box ticked because I was actually very good at my job. Then came the point when they couldn't stall giving me a promotion any longer. I was understandably quite chuffed about it.... and then when they told me all those years of excellence and the promotion made me elligible for a massive 1.5% pay rise I decided it was time to find a job in the private sector.
Generally I find the larger the company the more pointless box ticking the appraisal becomes, mix it with middle management office politics, and its completly pointless favourites have already been chosen and it just becomes something to make you even more demotivated, especially when you here the blatant lie these results go towards a promotion/ pay rise.
Much prefer a small company, your apppraisal is often the fact that the MD is an office down from you, and can see directly what you are doing and how well you are doing it everyday. I've found as well that usually enough then hard work gets some reward, wether its a pay rise, extra days off or whatever.
I think a lot of these sort of demotivational problems are endemic in large companies.
possibly missing the point.
The reason for appraisals is so that large companies can show that they have some objective, formal process fro evaluating their staff and setting salaries.
Conversely, the reason for appraisals is so that large companies have some sufficiently vague criteria that they can use to elevate or depress the salaries of the staff that they like/dislike.
Having it formalised and documented means that no-one can really complain that it is unfair because it is the 'same for everyone'.
Large companies suffer from the fact that nobody can trust anybody else because 'they don't know them', 'haven't worked with them', 'they are rivals for resources', they are all bloody useless', etc. etc. but at least they have a formal standard for appraisal.
So that's alright then.
"My boss agrees I met most of my objectives and that I worked well. And every year I don't get a payrise because I work for a stupid tight-fisted company who don't give a shit about their staff."
Well you are a good worker, right? So get another job.
You can appraise your firm just like they can appraise you. Presumably you're in IT (because you're reading El Reg), so it's not like another job will be hard to get.
Really, why put up with it?
The thing about being an industrial cleaner, as I was in the early nineties is that people assume you're an illiterate idiot. During the course of my duties I noted with great glee a memo carelessy left in one piece in a bin I was sent to empty. Sent from above and informing managers that if they gave positive appraisals then less money would be available for there own pay rise.
After a string of largely spurious appraisals, miserly rises in the face of rises in production, quality and safety metrics leading to miserly rises for workers, but disproportionate rises for management (hey ! I thought the company and us oiks were under performing according to you lot....which means you were too.) morale, quality and safety sunk to the lowest levels imaginable. Products that had never previously had a problem were failing the most basic QC........ Who'd have guessed.
God alone knows what would have happened if I'd actually opened my mouth, but the truth is, that when these events happen, it's transparent to anyone in a workplace with an ounce of sense (not one worker getting a decent rise, all managers turning up in new cars etc....). When the inevitable happens, of course the last people to take responsibility are the management who effectively gunned down morale. Workforce surpass every imaginable target, then get kicked in the pants......why disrupt the workplace with the stress of appraisals if you can't be arsed to be honest.
What I'm getting to is that in the UK appraisals are usually used as a stick to wallop employees and reward frequently incompetent management. As pointed out above perhaps decent workers need to appraise employers a little more aggresively and walk if they can't/wont deliver.
Some of the staff have pay rises based on it because they're on a personal contract, others (like me) are on an older pay scale and get a cost of living percentage regardless of performance.
No more than 30% are allowed to be "above expectations" so the boss just gives it to the people on personal contracts to ensure they get a half-decent pay rise.
I'm top of my pay scale and happy where I am. As long as I get my job done, why bother putting effort into (and wasting time on) this bullshit?
Oh yeah, the tick in the box for the middle managers - that way it looks like they have a useful function.
I used to work for a company that had quite a large HR department, used to give all applicants rafts of tests and challenges to ensure they got the right people. Strange how they where forever in tribunals and forever losing too. Oh we got appraisals too, just to make sure we where still the "right people" a complete and utter waste of time, but HR where seen to be doing something, usually intimidating the staff with these pointless exercises. One poor guy who was overloaded with work (he had 7 projects, whilst everyone else had two) complained in his "assessment" session and they had the nerve to suggest to him that he needed to see a stress counsellor, who incidentally worked in the HR department.
If a member of staff in my department is not performing, then they are quietly told then and there, no need to embarrass them formally.
At one place I worked at I got my "annual review" when I had been there six weeks, simply because everyone was supposed to get their review on that date. I was still well in my learning phase, and was ranked inadequate by my supervisor, which I did not then or now think was a fair assessment, in particularly for a "yearly" performance. I quit the organization within 8 months.
At another job in the mid nineties my review was simply an excuse for a manager with a grudge to force me to leave. At still another job we wrote our own reviews and the whole thing was rubber stamped.
Reviews have so little connection to your actual performance that it only really matters whether they like you or not.
I work for an office where "performance appraisals" are mandated to be given twice a year: mid-term and final. However, the mere fact it is mandated makes no difference since many of our workers don't get one at all. Many may get the final but no mid-term and some get finals. The whole process is a joke since the people who give them do not work with us and haven't a clue as to what we do in a year. They are people who stay on the phone and rarely join in daily activities.
I miss the days when I worked with a boss closely and he/she knew what I did and the job I did. As someone said, it is a check-box thing now, totally impersonal.
"What I'm getting to is that in the UK appraisals are usually used as a stick to wallop employees and reward frequently incompetent management. As pointed out above perhaps decent workers need to appraise employers a little more aggresively and walk if they can't/wont deliver."
Or, more often than not, appraisals are used by (largely) useless middle management in an attempt to justify their own existence. This was the case at a couple of companies I've worked for, and in all cases it was odd that the rank and file peons didn't get the chance to appraise their managers(!).
Not so sure about walking if they can't or won't deliver - asking for (and getting) voluntary redundancy was the best thing that's happened to me in the past couple of years; may not be practical for some, but it worked for me - got me out of a job I had come to detest with a nice payoff to boot.
It's been a good 18 months since I had what most people would consider a proper appraisal, but then again I work for a small, consistently profitable company whose MD resides in the same building as everyone else and actually makes an effort to engage the employees on a semi-regular basis. Result? Better than average morale and stuff actually gets done - a far cry from the PHB-laden hellholes I've worked at in the past.
The cynic might say that an appraisal is a tool used by HR and management to foster an agenda regarding the employee.
You can call me a cynic then :D
I just quit my job to go travelling WOOT! Anyway in my exit interview it had a question "Did you find the performance appraisal process helpful." I answered No. This was naturally queried from the HR bot. My response was "I’m sure it helped some people but it looked like stating the obvious to me."
Or course my boss was new to the whole appraisal thing as was I so we were honest and treated it seriously. Which I’ve since found it is a rare thing and the HR department don’t really know how to take is as it means more work for them.
Appraisals are simply a way to justify the overly large HR departments.continued exsitance. One company I worked for insisted on quarterly reviews. Not bad until they start insisting that appraisals packs were to be filled out. Yep you guessed it they got so convoluted it took days to complete. They then also started work related psych tests as well, to establish your best fit in the company or identify potential leaders. What a crock!. Well I decided to leave. Even though HR knew I was leaving they insisted I complete the last one. In true BOFH fashion I went for the high score One meeting later with HR regarding the results they still didn't didn't get it. Oh well I'm better for it by getting out of that hell hole
The endless enforced navel gazing and pointless, smug, self-congratulatory awards are a just a sad substitute for paying staff properly and assuming they are pretty good at getting on with it if left alone. How about reversin the appraisals, and have staff appraising their managers/bosses, with the results used to determine their wages?
My little part of the gov't has long defrauded the staff and everyone knows it even the mgmt know we know. Do you know how they fixed it? Sold everyone that a Performance management software will make it more transparent.
Since every app has to have a name, (i still don't know why business people err management need to name a canned app something else) in their infinite wisdom asked the employees to submit names. The winning name of the performance management app was focus.
I really don't think they thought this through. It took all of 2 seconds to pronounce it the way it will be used.....
Your not in management are you?
OK i'll help you out. focus = fuk - us ;-)
To justify their existence, Human Resources develops a new annual review process or a new spin on an old process every few years. Well, it's not really new. They just reword the form and reorder the sections to conform with what is being taught in university today. They seem to spend significantly more time developing a new logo and name for the annual review process.
I suspect that there may be some value in the process during the first five years of employment. I don't know for sure. During the first 25 years working for my company, I was on the road at a customer site when it was time for the annual review. I never saw the form and assume that my supervisor, at the time, filled it in for me.
Now that I've worked for the company for 30 years and don't travel as much, I've had to fill out the forms. They're ridiculous.
Identify what training you need to perform your job. What? Why didn't you make this offer 30 years ago? You're paying me 75 percent more than the average annual salary of others performing the same function because I had to learn what I needed to know while the technology was being developed. And, in some cases, I had to develop the technology because none existed.
Where do you want to be 10 years from now? Retired! However, given the Pension Protection Act of 2006, I may need to retire next year because I'm going to be penalized should I continue to work.
I've been blessed with supervisors that haven't had a clue about what I do or how I do it. They have been looking at the success of their projects and listening to their customers. On more than one occasion, I have received an annual salary increase exceeding 20 percent as a result.
I have won numerous company awards for special projects. In the United States, the Engineering Council has an event similar to the movie industry's Academy Awards. I was nominated by my company for my work in IT Security. Unfortunately, I didn't walk away with that year's "Oscar". That went to a lead engineer on a much "sexier" NASA project.
Although I only received a Merit Award for being a finalist, it did translate into a sizable salary increase. When you get down to it, this is the most important metric of your value to a company.
The point of this diatribe? The annual review process is a waste of time! You are much better off doing the best that you can on every assignment with a touch of creativity and as much elan as you can muster. It translates to the most important metric of all: the interest of the Internal/Inland Revenue Service in your well-being.
HR = Human remains...
I have yet to work for a company where the HR Dept. are actually any good.
My current employer has a self-appraisal system. The temptation to make up a load of old toot is this: strong. However, it's been buried at the bottom of my drawer for four months and no-one has yet noticed...
In a previous life, we had a form to fill in. Lots and lots of questions written in USAnian mgt-speak: Has the employee leveraged fully resources to improve customer-directed focus? Answers along the lines of "I'm a BOFH, I've been here five years and I've never even /seen/ a customer" cut no ice with the HR Droids, who ran the Gestapo a close second in their combination of stubbornness and bureaucracy.
Finally I escaped; fittingly the company was Borged by a German outfit.
and I remember why I prefer contracting.
My last appraisal was cancelled as they made me redundant instead. So, despite working 50 hours weeks, generating an additional $1,000/week in unexpected income, I got NOTHING for it. They even refused to help with getting me home, but were quite happy to point out I only had 10 days to leave the country or would be at risk of arrest and deportation. Never again shall I cross the Atlantic.
At a UK employer, the appraisal was seen as an opportunity for the most miserable manager I have ever come across to have a pop at all of the staff suffering under his shitty attitude. I was lied to constantly at this (large French owned FM) company. Appraisals were given by quota. There were rules stating that not everyone could be in the top 30%. How can you possibly have an appraisal were the outcome has to be fitted into a slot just to keep HR happy. I worked with 3 other Systems Programmers, each of us had complementary skills, we all had to work together, and did so quite well, to keep things going. So, who was the best, who were the mediocre and who was the dog. I took a simple view, we were all needed and all contributed to the success or otherwise, we each helped each other out when required, it was a great team to be on. Shame about the management. (BTW, If you recognise yourself Mr AW, you are right it is you !).
I left after more lies. I managed to get away from that site and off to do something interesting. But, the clawed me back in for Y2K work, well they tried, I left, as I refused to return to the same problems, different face that existed at the previous site.
Overall, appraisals are worthless, especially if there are quotas present as to how many fit into certain grades. This is statistics gone mad, decide what they should be, then engineer everything to fit. I wonder why staff retention is an issue at these companies ....
There's a definite theme to these comments - small friendly organisations are better than mega-corporations with faceless Inhuman Resources departments.
Of course, anything can be screwed up by bad managers, whatever the size of the organisation, in which case the individual often has little choice but to vote with his feet.
Nevertheless, smaller things are often better and more manageable, be they companies, IT projects or whatever.
I've worked in various different size firms and the one I work in now is huge, but I am lucky enough to work in a small department that scores quite highly on the worker satisfaction surveys that they do. It's interesting to note that the general morale has little to do with performance reviews and pay awards, but it's a lot more affected by projects.
In other words, give people interesting and worthwhile things to do and they are a lot happier. In fact, even if you can't manage "interesting", then "worthwhile" is often good enough. Most people just need to feel that after a day's work they have contributed something, however tiny, to the onward progress of the human race.
I made exactly this rant after my recent waste-of-time appraisal.
My wife then told me that, in her opinion, appraisals were just another method that companies have of building a file of evidence against people they want to sack. For the remaining 99.9% of staff they will always be a waste of time
Appraisals are pants - they're a form of arse-covering.
Anyone who's dismissed can make a case that they've been unfairly treated unless it can be shown they knew exactly what was expected of them and given every opportunity to seek help to meet those expectations. Appraisals are about providing a paper trail which can't subsequently be challenged at a tribunal. They bear no relation to any actual job or any actual employee: they could not serve their purpose if they did.
@Mat: " .. yet to work for a company where the HR Dept. are actually any good"
I think HR folks show a great aptitude for developing their own careers - they design the systems in which they progress. Don't assume their purpose is to be concerned with *your* job and it all makes perfect sense!
and was subjected to their annual "performance management" cycle.
And yes, it was management, rather than review, because your performance was managed to fit in with their budget. Certainly at the school I was working at, anyway.
Proud of their Investors In People standard, they stuck rigidly to their performance management cycle, and the one year, IIP came in to interview the staff, to renew their IIP mark.
For one reason or another, I was chosen to be one of the staff interviewed, so I told the IIP person how I and others viewed the review cycle to be a farce, as bonuses depended not on targets, achievement or attitude, but on how hard you had been forced to work that year because of staff/budget shortages. I also told them that the review was hated by the vast majority of the staff because we were made to set targets on projects (as one other comment poster said) that were dropped or abandoned through lack of funding, support or a change of direction, and as a result we missed the performance management targets, therefore ineligible for a payrise.
I also told him about the one time that I had witness several people get passed over for a promotion because one member of senior staff had already chosen the person he wanted to fit the position, regardless of the school saying that it was an equal opportunities employer, and that all staff who had applied and been interviewed for the position were considered on their individual merit... but the person who was predicted to get the job, got the job.
And there was the time where we were asked to install a £20k wireless network across the site, the target went on my PM sheet, I requested training so that we could hit the target, training was denied through lack of funding, we didn't hit the target as we didn't have training, so that year I didn't get a payrise.
Guess what? The school passed the IIP mark with flying colours, and was given a glowing report, and were allowed to carry the IIP mark for another five years.
IIP, to me, seems to be a waste of time. Another "look what we can achieve!" - another useless annual appraisal, actually.
Personally I find this annual or bi-annual official judgement of me to be rather offensive. One grits one's teeth and goes through it because one is forced to by the practices the board have picked up and insist on. But quite honestly, if an employee is getting something wrong then it's their boss' job to spot it and guide changes at the time, they are management after all. (But of course that assumes today's bosses are any good at knowing what is going on.)
As it is, once or twice a year the boss wastes everyone's time by thinking of a list of stuff that can be spun to make the employee look deficient as a worker (and by implication a human being), since some will stick and be used as justification for a lack of bonus or pay rise or whatever. Then if the employee is lucky, the boss will help them phrase the wording in other boxes on the form so they don't look quite so bad, and feel grateful.
If managers actually managed their staff, and worked to their strengths, rather than point out the areas the employee is less suited for, then work life would be a lot less stressful. Didn't have all this nonsense in my day. Took a common sense approach to staff. not adopting the latest daft fashion in management schemes.
Neigh!!!! My main reason for becoming an IT contractor was that I didn't want to have to spend my time jumping through all of these pointless hoops just to keep my job or try to wangle a non existent bonus (read carrot) based on non-obtainable objectives (read stick).
I now earn more than any manager I have ever had, don't have to jump through these pointless hoops -ever; and do try to provide useful feedback for the permie staff when they request it rather than the one liners requested by the reviewing manager. My advice... if you can, go contracting.
Clip-clops off to Athens to get his field coat...
I work for a company with less than 20 people, and since the arrival of a new director, we have 6 monthly appraisals, just got email notification of the next one this morning.
It's all bollocks, nothing that is talked about, by either party, comes to anything.
As has been mentioned many time above, it's all arse covering in case you try to take them to court, or to get evidence to sack someone.
As the HR name implies, we are a resource, a commodity to be exploited and that is how companies make money.
To use the communist dialectic, for every hour you get paid, you perform an unpaid hours work. This goes towards company overheads, like the building, power and of course it's profit. The biggest drain on resources are HR who fulfil no useful function.
I like the bit in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where our heroes end up on a planet where all the useless middle managers, hairdressers etc end up, having been ditched by the doers. Pity companies in this country didn't do the same, lose the hangers on who make no meaningful contribution apart from moving one bit of paper (or email) from their inbox to their outbox.
Performance reviews: There are only two things that should apply, doing job or not doing job.
Training: In most cases, none required as you generally have the skills to begin with because that is why they employed you in the first place!
Pay rises: Should always be at the level of inflation plus one per cent minimum to improve the living standard of the worker. A happy worker is generally more productive, a point missed by the greedy bastards that run large corporations who want to increase profits exponentially.
Phew, got some of it off my chest so now I'd better get me coat.
ps: When does Paris get her appraisal?
I bet your appraisal this year will be poo. You spend most of your time posting on the Reg!
Bring it on! :-O
It's all "me, me me" with you lot isn't it?
Think of the poor middle manager - it can't be easy, sitting in front of some disgruntled employee who wants gold bathroom taps and a private jet, when his (or her) performance justifies a permanent place on the daily WTF site.
There you are, constrained by HR policies into only providing positive, constructive criticism, when really you want to write down that this person is the same empty-headed fuckwit that you reviewed last year. And you didn't expect a brain transplant to happen over the course of the year, so why review them again?
To cap it all, said middle manager probably has to be reviewed by even more useless upper managers, but has not yet reached the gravy train level where abject failure is accompanied by a nice fat payoff.
So have a heart, Reg readers - it's Christmas.
@ Evil Graham
you're asking for "sympathy" from Reg readers.
you will find "sympathy" in the dictionary, somewhere between "shit" and "syphilis". (credit to my father-in-law, a Canadian of great integrity)
you will not find any "sympathy" here. and fsck Christmas, it's a shopping holiday anyway.
I am lucky with my current manager: we both know it's a big HR game and we 'cook the books', in that he tells me how best to spin what I saw and then he endorses it. We evaluate our managers anonymously, and I give him a well-earned star rating. But we do these appraisal games for nothing. Nothing. It does not affect our pay or our prospects. It just keeps us out of trouble. And bonuses here are awarded to teams, so a couple of drongos and you kiss your money goodbye.
360 degree appraisals, where bosses get rated by their teams and everybody rates everyone else, and the bottom 10% are fired every year, is the approach taken by some big, big firms. I have never endured that, but I can see that it would be fair, at least for a company that wants only a hard-ball kind of quality.
Sadly, not every company can have 100% star-quality staff, even if they could/would pay for it. There aren't enough in the world. So appraisals are a way of making people who can't raise their standards feel bad, within a system devised by HR and top managers to keep themselves in work. Insulting for all.