Performance Review and Appraisal: 5 Sure-Fire Ways Fail

performance appraisalMany business owners, managers, team leaders and supervisors I work with seem to have a real knack for making their performance review or appraisal meetings suck. They don’t mean to do this (well most don’t) but they often tell me they just can’t make these meetings work. When I ask them to talk me through how they prepare for the meeting a number of issues consistently arise. So, here are 5 ways you can prepare to ensure your performance review or appraisal meetings fail – just in case you need it!

1. Talk the performance review / appraisal meeting down, down, down

It’s critical to ensure that everyone (and particularly new recruits) is crystal clear what a total waste of time the meeting, and the whole performance review or appraisal system, is. Be subtle though. Something on the lines of

‘I’m really sorry Jack, it’s that time of year again. HR says we’ve got to do the appraisal thing. Yeah, I know, who’s got the time? Anyway let’s get it over with as fast as possible so we can get back to the real work’

2. Postpone the performance review / appraisal meeting – at least twice

This is a neat way to really underline the message of how little you value the meeting and, as a bonus, how little you value your employee. Postpone the meeting as often as you can and for any reason you can. Particularly effective are reasons relating to, say, preparing a budget report or financial statement. Anything that says

‘we value the numbers more than we value our people’ should do nicely

3. Pick a lousy location

If possible hold the meeting somewhere noisy, too hot or too cold and smelly. Be sure you can guarantee a number of interruptions and that other people can overhear your conversation. Anywhere in an open plan office should work well

If you have to use a private office make sure the air conditioning or heating system is malfunctioning, that you are able to claim a seat that is i) bigger ii) higher iii) clearly more comfortable than the  employee’s seat and that there is some light shining in their eyes

And don’t, whatever you do, offer any refreshments. This is not a party

4. Do no preparation for the performance review or appraisal meeting at all. None

Preparation is for wimps. It’s much more effective to

a) Look blankly at the employee when they enter the room and then begin frantically searching your desk drawer, then filing cabinet, then waste paper basket for a copy of the objectives you agreed 12 months ago at the last meeting

Don’t worry about not finding them – they’re 9 months out of date anyway

b) Attempt to give feedback based on only the vaguest understanding of

  • What the employee’s job is
  • What effective performance looks like for their job (performance objectives )
  • How the  employee has actually performed against the objectives and standards (and don’t even think about using objective, fact-based examples)
  • Areas of outstanding performance (‘nice job Dibley’ will suffice)
  • Areas for development (‘a bit more oomph’ will do nicely)

5. Do not encourage the employee to prepare for the meeting

The very last thing you want is to encourage the employee to have an opinion on their

  • performance
  • achievements and successes
  • areas for development
  • job satisfaction needs

Why would you? You don’t intend to ask them about any of this so why bother?


So there we have it. Five easy ways to ensure your preparation for the performance review or appraisal meeting results in a total waste of time, and a totally demotivated employee. Of course if you would like the opposite result you could try taking the opposite approach. Just an idea.


performance appraisalIf you would like to know how to succeed at performance review or appraisal instead, why not check out my Kindle book ‘A step-by-step guide to running performance appraisal meetings that that motivate your staff to higher performance and higher job satisfaction’

This guide was easy to read, well structured and easy to follow… I particularly liked: the emphasis on motivation; the inclusion of job satisfaction ( not something I had come across as a specific appraisal topic before); the approach of drawing in the staff member to the whole process ( making them prepare and getting them to give their views first); the idea of sharing performance feedback and that the manager should be prepared to change their mind on whether objectives have been met in the light of information given by the member of staff.

You can check it out on Amazon (and try a sample) HERE


2 Responses to Performance Review and Appraisal: 5 Sure-Fire Ways Fail

  1. […] Want to know the top 5 ways that managers FAIL when managing performance? Check out the post Performance Appraisal Meeting Preparation – 5 Sure-fire ways to Fail […]

  2. […] on how to help your employee prepare here    • Avoid, at all costs, these ‘5 Sure Fire Ways to Fail’   Alternative: Insincere Thanks. Ok, money’s too tight to mention so let’s […]

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