When Are Appraisals Useful?

Well, at the very least when its results are actually made known to the appraisee. For those in the Malaysian civil service, they still haven’t got their results after 10 months. Yet another stumbling block in the government’s plan to cut red tape and improve efficiency… and as usual every party involved in this facade is pointing their fingers in every direction except at their own noses.

The point of appraisals are so employees will know what is expected of them and how their current performance are perceived by their superiors. It is also useful in identifying areas of strength, and those in which improvement are needed. What I particularly like about appraisals is that it is a reflection of how others perceive you. Most of the time, the results will never fail to suprise.

I had recently been reverse appraised by staff in my company, and the results were unexpected, to say the least. What really made me curious about the results was that different people perceived different things about me. Some areas for which they rank me highly, to me, was really suprising. I don’t even think those were my strong points.

The same things could be said about what they perceived to be my weak areas. I’m sure as hell I’m really good in these areas, but hey, I always respect people’s opinions of me. This has been a constant cause for conflict between people. When somebody starts questioning aspects of your life where you feel very certain you’re really good at, you tend to get defensive about it. Fortunately for me, I have developed sufficient “skin thickness” to focus on improving such areas rather than dwell on why people feel I’m so weak in the area.

I’m still a firm believer that reverse appraisals is a useful tool to use to assess key personnel. The very fact that it is reversed means that senior staff will get a clearer picture of what their subordinates think about them.