Candidate Experience Story: Performance Appraisals

In our series “Candidate Experience Story”, we speak to current and past job applicants and ask them what is something that they wish HR would take into consideration during the recruitment process. Today, we will take the feedback a step further and share a three-part story about how miserable management pushed an employee away why they left what appears to be a glamorous job to outsiders.

Meaningless Appraisals and Lack of Valuable Feedback

“Despite graduating in the turbulent spring of the COVID-19 outbreak, I was lucky enough to have received multiple job offers. Like many others, I was drawn to the idea of working in a big, sparkly, well-known firm. Which is why I decided to take on my first job at an investment banking company – joining the software support team. However, it was not before long when all the excitement I had for starting a full-time job became deflated.

Shortly after completing my training, I was told that we would hold performance appraisals regularly. This consisted of weekly one on one reviews, biweekly team reviews, and biannual overall performance reviews. The numbers were intimidating at first, but it also felt assuring to know that the company appears keen on communication. However, when the meetings rolled around, my nervousness soon switched to disappointment.

Rather than constructive feedback, the meetings consisted of nothing but cold statistics. The only matters discussed were how many tickets we have dealt with the past week per person, and whether it was an increase or decrease from the previous week. There was no qualitative dissection of our performance. I understand how numbers are an important empirical measure of performance, but with little analysis, the numbers felt more arbitrary than anything.

We almost never discussed how we can improve these numbers, what changes were made and were effective, or even what changes can be made at all. With no idea what other members and teams were working on, we had no context as to what all the numbers really encompass. The lack of valuable feedback made these performance appraisals feel like a waste of time. I didn’t know what I was doing right or wrong and had no idea how I can improve my work.”

What Makes a Performance Appraisal Worthwhile?

Feedback is necessary for growth. Your best employees are the ones that consistently work hard to be better, but this is only possible if you provide them with the necessary resources and opportunities to do so. Performance appraisals are a powerful tool to help your employees understand their strengths and weaknesses.

When providing feedback, give both qualitative and quantitative analysis for your team to get a comprehensive picture of their performance. Recognize your employees when they’ve made significant improvement in the quality of their work. And ultimately, follow up with a discussion as to what the team can do collectively and what each employee can do individually to further increase efficiency in your work.

Rather than holding performance appraisals for the sake of seeming productive, go in with a clear objective to make it worth everybody’s time. If you are taking time out of the workday to hold these review meetings, make sure everyone is able to take away something valuable by the end of the meeting!