Leadership and personnel management without staff appraisal: People First?

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The topic of employee appraisal apparently hits a nerve in many staff. Our contribution New Leadership in Global Businesses: Bye Employee Talks! was retrieved over 3 times within 11.000 days. Most of the readers' comments confirmed the rather demotivating effect of the annual staff appraisal. But what is happening in Germany's executive floors?

appraisal interview

Here writes for you:


Roswitha A. van der Markt Roswitha van der marketRoswitha A. van der Markt is a management consultant and executive coach for HP, Siemens or SAP.


Only 6% say “goodbye employee review”

Only about 6% of the Fortune 500 Company So far, they have said goodbye to the usual management tools. These include Accenture, Google and Microsoft. They no longer have time tracking and no annual performance appraisal interviews.

It may not be surprising that all these companies belong to the elite and lead to a new work organization, the New Way of Work have already successfully implemented, away from hierarchical control thinking towards appreciation of the person. And it should come as no surprise that it is precisely because of this “new way” of leadership that they have significantly improved their employee engagement and their market position.

Does Germany have only managers, but no leaders?

On the other hand, the many discussions with German managers were frightening as to whether this could and should also be effective in their companies. Most managers viewed this development negatively or strongly doubted that such a development would promise success. This culminated in the emphasis: "At least once a year there should be an in-depth discussion with every employee."

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What a disaster is this about the state of our German management and especially about our understanding of leadership?

Hardly any of the managers had understood that with the omission of the annual Employee dialogue is not capped by the employee dialog. On the contrary: in the aforementioned companies, a continuous feedback is maintained with the employees, yes, as a verification of the fundamental values ​​and corporate culture. It is so vehemently more communication with the employees instead of. Constructive, up-to-date feedback, a dialogue with colleagues and employees. The basis for this is trust and appreciation, trust in self-motivation and self-motivation, in the outcome orientation of the individual.

More communication, more feedback - more success

This continuous dialogue based on partnership, this mutual exchange, the focus on further development, this joint development of solutions and improvements form the basis for the outstanding market positioning of the companies mentioned. A clear employee orientation, in which the individual is assessed, “judged” and controlled not only once a year in his performance.

In times of digital transformation, only the companies can be successful and remain one such "People First" approach realize. Especially younger generations, Millennials, demand this dialogue and continuous feedback. They want to develop further, to make a meaningful contribution with their performance and in their personality, but not only once a year, but to be perpetuated. Otherwise, they leave the company much earlier than other generations, on average 2 years, while Generation X circa 5 years and baby boomers were still around 7 years on average. Thus, a culture without an annual employee discussion requires real leadership skills and an actual personal approach and appreciation.

Management instruments and measurement criteria offer only an apparent security

German managers, on the other hand, rely more on management tools and formalisms that give them a feeling of “security” than on active interpersonal dialogue.

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Although managers in large corporations on average often have to spend more than 200 working hours alone for the preparation and follow-up, how to carry out the annual employee discussions and evaluations. According to the survey conducted by CEB HR Consulting, companies with around 10 000 employees use around $ 35 per year alone for the performance measurement of their employees, including modern performance management technology.

Formalism culture kills motivation

Why do managers need to rank and measure performance in a grid from 1 to 5? Because this grid is often used in annual performance reviews. In such formalisms, the three are defined as the middle as “good performance” and this is where most “really good employees” are classified. The managers then squirm around the reasoning even with really good employees, and very few are granted a 4 or even 5 every now and then when a promotion is soon to come. And then they have to defend these few against their manager colleagues. The cut has to be right. Only small percentages are set for best performance.

On this basis, a system for the sake of the system certainly cannot motivate more performance. Which employee, who is committed, performs well, even confirmed by his manager, feels motivated when he is and remains “average”. Personalities, commitment and many types of performance cannot be crammed into such a grid. Such a system offers an apparent "leadership security", but is counter-productive and hinders personal development, innovation, motivation and performance improvement. Above all, they permanently prevent the joy of work.

Previous performance management system miss the target

Especially since the foundation itself, the performance based solely on goal-oriented leadership can no longer meet the new economic challenges of a digital world. What are the objectives for a whole year? - above all, which of the goals can the individual, alone through his personal performance really influence?

In most cases, goals are linked to the willingness and ability of other team members and colleagues to perform. If they do not want to or cannot perform, then their own performance and results are in a bad way. Even an executive in the upper management group, who found himself under a lot of pressure, had to determine after analyzing her personal goals that only 15% of them could really influence it independently: “and for that I ruin my health and my family”.

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The results are too low

Whom may it be astonishing that the result of such a time- and cost-intensive process is much too low: even the positively evaluated performers were rather demotivated and frustrated by the annual employee discussions, especially since the time-direct and high-quality dialogue with the supervisor thus not could be solved. The goal of encouraging and motivating the employees individually was thus missed.

Whilst it may come as a surprise that the Gallup Commitment Index in Germany has been at an extremely modest level since 15 years, despite the elaboration of measurement criteria and management instruments. In all these years, the percentage of employees with a high level of commitment to the company did not rise by 16 percent, fluctuating between 61 and 70 percent with a low bond, and even showing a frightening picture of employees without any binding in 16 to 24 percent.

Poor grades for managers

In the Gallup study 2015, employees gave their German executives poor marks, especially in terms of communication and exchange, just those skills that are so necessary in a networked project culture. 21 percent talked to their team only once a month, and even less to 21 percent. Thus, almost 50 percent of employees are without regular team arrangements or even personal feedback.

With so little personal dialogue, so little personal appreciation: what benefit can then be achieved yearly Employee talk realiter?

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  1. Roswitha vanderMarkt

    Successful without employee appraisals: that's what our readers say! | PROFESSIONAL PICTURES - - Highly recommended PzEBwhiD5L Annual employee ...

  2. Holger Emmrich, LL.M

    Successful without # employee appraisals -> is that possible? @ personalguru101 - Highly recommended 1WaHnPMJDF

  3. Thomas Eggert

    Successful without employee discussions: Our readers say this! by Roswitha A. van der ... by BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended 90xSaOZzZr


    Successful without employee discussions: Our readers say this! by Roswitha A. van der ... by BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended 9GK6kEqMoz

  5. Competencepartner

    Successful without employee appraisals: That's what our readers say! by Roswitha A. van der Markt: … - Highly recommended qfZlSZWE0N #Creation #Education

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