Do annual staff appraisals still work?

It’s the season of summer heat, cool drinks, long evenings and …appraisals! Yes, we feel for you! Do appraisals actually work? We ask PR pros who have just gone through this grueling process what they feel about it.

The Good

Divya Siraj Menon, assistant account manager, Alphabet Media  feels that, “Appraisals are like double edge swords, it can either offer opportunity to focus on the on- going work activities and goals. On the other hand, a poor appraisal is like no recognition at all, this affects your motivation and satisfaction levels.”

George Samuel, junior account executive with Avian Media has just had his first appraisal ever. He says, “I am really happy with my appraisal. It was an eye opener as I came to know how long the road ahead is and what lies in store. Through appraisals, an individual gets to know about his highs and lows at work which he can work on for a better career. “

George Samuel, 22-year-old, Mumbai based PR executive, has just been through his first appraisal at his first job

The Bad

For Garima Sharma Nijhawan, independent communications consultant, a lot can be done to change the process of appraisals. She says, “Most often feedback is staggered and shared in parts at different point of time rather than combining all feedbacks to give one holistic overview to the concerned employee on the day of appraisal.”

Nijhawan further adds that, “Many times the mode of communication or ways of feedback collection is unstructured, which results in unclear and half-baked feedback flowing in the system. Such distorted pieces of feedback can hamper an employee’s growth and outlook starkly.”

 Nijhawan who manages communications for Centre for Civil Society says, “in typical appraisal meetings we spend 70% on past feedback and only 10 to 30% time on NEXT ROLE expectations. This approach needs to be reversed.”

Jasmeet Matharu, Manager – HR, Arm Digital believes that appraisals often don’t work because, “Employees, especially younger employees don’t tend to speak out their interest and growth aspirations more often than not. This hesitation leads to them missing out on their their potential and ambitions sometimes. “

What needs to change?

Many of the PR professionals we spoke to are keen on frequent feedback mechanisms rather than an annual appraisal.

Divya Siraj Menon say’s, “ In today’s spirited environment an annual appraisal system perspective would fail to do justice towards employee’s performance.”

Divya says at Alphabet Media they have done away with traditional performance appraisals practices based on Bell or Normal Curve. At Alphabet Media the focus is on regular performance appraisals, professional development, coaching and empowering employees.

Nijhawan also believes that greater space should be made for feedback from clients and stakeholders such as media during an appraisal to provide a complete snapshot.

Introduce monthly score cards

Matharu believes that the appraisal process should not be done away with as its transparent and friendly. She says, “I think we should bring to the appraisal process “Monthly Score-Cards”. The annual evaluation is a process in isolation where sometimes employees don’t even remember all the tasks and deliveries that might have generated the feedback.”

“Monthly Score-Cards help increase the productivity and effectiveness of employees by mapping their deliveries to their KRA broken periodically. “Jasmeet Matharu- Arm Digital



The cartoon in the story is drawn by Karan Bhujbal. His blog Ideabaker, focuses on producing news and stories in visuals. These PR themed cartoons are drawn exclusively for PRmoment India. Karan is an award winning marketing communications professional and also one of our top 30 Under 30 PR professionals for 2015. 

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