Do We Trust Our Employees? If So, Why Performance Appraisals?

Posted by on May 23, 2021 in Performance Appraisal, Trust | 0 comments

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of performance appraisals.  The premises for conducting performance appraisals vary but generally include the following:

  1. Problems result from individual dereliction.
  2. Successful work requires holding people accountable for the achievement of measurable goals.
  3. There is a reservoir of withheld effort that must be coaxed or coerced out of people.
  4. Managers can and must motivate and control the workforce.

In his famous 14 Points, Dr. Deming stated in his eighth point, “Drive our Fear.”  Fear fosters short-term thinking.  Some of the common workplace fears include:

  • Having one’s credibility questioned
  • Being left out of decision making
  • Being criticized in front of others and not getting the information necessary to succeed
  • Having a key assignment given to someone else
  • Having disagreements that might lead to damaged relationships
  • Getting stuck in a dead-end job
  • Not getting deserved recognition
  • Not being seen as a team player
  • Having suggestions ignored or misinterpreted as criticisms
  • Receiving poor performance ratings
  • Getting fired

Trust, on the other hand, is the absence of fear.  It’s reliance on character, ability, strength, and truth of someone in which confidence is placed.  So what are the characteristics of a trustworthy employee?  A trustworthy employee:

  • Is a responsible adult
  • Wants to contribute and do good work
  • Cares about the company and wants it to succeed
  • Comes to work every day
  • Can be trusted

In the end, there is no right way to do performance appraisals.  It is derived from a lack of trust in the employees we hire.  It hurts both those who are evaluated and, in the long run, those who evaluate.  It provides no demonstrable benefit to the organization or its customers.


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