Expert Advice for Employers: Handle Appraisals with Care to Prevent Staff Exits

In the realm of management recruitment, Walmsley Wilkinson stands as a guiding voice, urging employers to approach performance appraisals with caution. This advisory comes in the wake of surveys showing an alarming 85% of employees might consider leaving their roles following what they believe to be an unfair appraisal.

The start of a new year often signals a time for setting new objectives and reflecting on past performances. This period typically involves the process of conducting and finalising annual employee appraisals in many organisations.

For a good number of employees, these appraisals are a positive reinforcement, celebrating their achievements. Yet, for some, it can lead to the unwelcome surprise of negative feedback.

Taryn Wilkinson, co-founder of Walmsley Wilkinson Executive and Management Recruitment, points out: “Performance reviews are important for an individual’s training and development but to be successful they require the skills of a well prepared Manager who has already provided feedback and coaching, consistently throughout the year ie they are constructive about issues and generous with praise.

“Sadly, too many managers see the appraisal meeting as their opportunity to impart negative feedback that then comes as a surprise to the employee.”

A study titled ‘The Performance Reviews Get a Failing Grade‘ by Adobe revealed that 22% of employees have experienced crying following a poor appraisal, and 20% have felt the need to resign after a stressful review.

Reflektive, a company specialising in employee management, reports that a staggering 85% of the workers they surveyed would think about leaving their employer after receiving what they perceive as an unfair appraisal.

Moreover, the Adobe survey indicates that 58% of office workers view performance reviews as stressful, and 68% of Millennial managers believe they are ineffective.

January often witnesses an increase in employee resignations, driven by new year resolutions and reactions to negative appraisal meetings. A key factor in this turnover is subpar management practices, encapsulated in the maxim ‘people leave managers, not jobs.’

Taryn further adds: “These survey results demonstrate that appraisals can sometimes do more harm than good. Businesses need to ensure they have a robust, time effective process that their employees are engaged with, and their appraising managers are well trained at conducting. If an appraisal system is in place, it shouldn’t be an onerous chore for managers or employees.

“Thankfully we have the opportunity to work with many organisations that demonstrate best practice in employee engagement and development. Their managers know how to conduct effective appraisals. However, it’s disheartening when we hear first-hand tales of woe from other individuals.

“What should be a positive 360 degree feedback meeting with manager and employee in which achievements and improvements are discussed with action plans and coaching programmes agreed, can instead be a train crash of a situation which results in businesses losing talent. Annual appraisals should not be the catalyst for employee resignations”.

Walmsley Wilkinson, under the leadership of Linda Walmsley and Taryn Wilkinson, specializes in executive and management recruitment, supporting various organisations from large corporates to family-owned firms and the third sector. They are dedicated to identifying and securing top leadership talent across the UK and internationally.

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