58 – Performance appraisal in local government 4/4. What else could we do?

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              650 words

optimus prime transformer

This is the last post in this series. It is also where things start to get interesting. There are alternatives to performance appraisal the way we have always done it. The difficulty is that most are quite different to the current approach and pursuing them will involve the risks that always accompany change. Are we up for it?

We could just stop using performance appraisals. As Peter R. Scholtes writes in The Leaders Handbook, this would require us to start thinking differently. In essence, this would involve adopting a ‘systems thinking’ approach to managing the organisation. This is likely to require systems to support employee development and promotion, providing feedback for improvement, determining training needs, and performance managing the poor performers.

Scholtes proposes what he calls ‘debundling’ of performance appraisal to focus on each benefit that the performance appraisal system supposedly provides. Continue reading

55 – Local government performance appraisal 2/4. Why do we do it?

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                                   480 words

line in sand

Well, often we don’t as previously discussed. Not all organisations complete them for every employee and in some organisations it is simply a compliance exercise. Even when you do have a performance review system, it may as easily not improve performance as the team at Utopia showed this with unerring insight. I suppose the relevant question is why do we think that we need performance appraisal?

I don’t think it is because we know that it works and helps to align effort and ensure accountability in delivering on organisational objectives. I think we do it because we are bound to do so by industrial agreements and because it creates the illusion of control. Looking like we are in control is as important in local government as it is in other public services. Continue reading