The time is upon us for human resources to step up as a practice and lead. Never before has the work of HR been so critical to organizational success. To meet this challenge requires that we break some old habits. This is the third in a series of guest posts from thought leader, Jason Lauritsen, called the 2017 HR Hitlist. Each of the five posts will outline one practice or behavior that HR needs to eliminate, and what they should do instead.
When I first started railing against the performance appraisal process years ago, my colleagues in HR were the first to defend it.
“We have to do appraisals to protect ourselves legally.”
“We can’t make fair decisions about pay increases without an appraisal.”
“We have to have some record of performance.”
“You can’t assess performance without ratings.”
The ironic thing was that many of these same colleagues actually despised the very process they were defending. It was cumbersome, time consuming, and they knew the information contained in the appraisals was questionable in far too many cases.
While defending it, they had to ignore the truth that performance appraisals are often inflated by managers looking to avoid conflict. Plus, they had been telling managers that appraisals were a legal requirement for so long, they’d forgotten that it’s not actually true.
The process was broken and they knew it. But, they defended it because they felt like they had to.
There can be no innovation or progress unless we’re open to the possibility of a better way. The black or white, yes or no, approach to HR does not work in a world of perpetual and accelerating change. As a consequence, HR is riddled with ineffective, old management practices born in an age of industrialization that have no place in today’s world of work.
While it seems that perhaps we’ve made progress towards replacing the traditional performance appraisal process, that’s only the beginning.
How should interviewing and selection change due to the fact that people are really bad at evaluating other people? Or, what happens to compensation when we consider the evidence that financial bonuses are negatively correlated with performance for complex and creative work? Continue reading