Why a Non-Profit Scrapped Their Appraisals Process
“Appraisals don’t really work,” argues Sophie Bryan. But is there a better way?
Hi, we are Happy
We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.
How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?
“Working in HR you get lots of negative feedback. People complain that they don’t agree with their manager’s rating [of them]. They especially resent getting feedback on something that happened long ago,[something] that they are now powerless to correct. They ask ‘how can I be rated about something he didn’t tell me about six months ago?’
“They also take up a lot of effort on the part of the manager and the employee, as well as HR, and they don’t really inspire high performance. There has to be a better way.”
I spoke to Sophie to discuss this idea further, and find out what the alternative to appraisals is.
The alternative to appraisals
“The alternative is to create a coaching culture. You can give effective coaching and feedback regularly, in short discussions, to help people come to their own conclusions on their performance — for points of reflection and meaningful learning — instead of this six-monthly, one hour teeth-pulling exercise.”
Until this year Sophie was Director of Workplace Culture at a social housing charity. “We had got to the point of stopping appraisals and were putting in place a new processes. If there are organisations that want to adopt this approach, the crucial bit is figuring out how to align your coaching culture. You can’t just pull appraisals and expect it all to work.
“Everybody has to be bought in, with leaders and managers trained how to be coaches, staff having an understanding of what makes them a good coach, and a commitment to play to strengths.
“You have to build a culture where coaching is at the heart of business. For me, coaching is about what I’ve devised as the 3 Cs – Connection, Collaboration and Curiosity.
“More and more companies are moving from an appraisal based approach. Google does it well. Adobe have recently scrapped their appraisal process. Even General Electric – famous for forced distribution of staff – have abandoned appraisals.
“What do I love about this profession? I want people to walk into work and feel the ‘wow’ in work. I want them to wake up in the morning and be engaged and eager to go to work. And that’s about creating an engaged, strengths-based and happy workplace.”
Best advice I’ve received
“Whenever I was having moments of doubt, my colleague Denise would ask me ‘What can you learn from that?’ It really helped refocus and see the positive in every situation, and is now one of my mantras.”
The advice I’d give
“Build networks and see the opportunity in everyone you meet. When you need to look for advice or expertise, coaching or mentoring – you’ve got a really good network around you so that you can connect, collaborate and act on curiosity, that’s how you learn and grow.”
- 4 Things to Consider When Chairing Meetings - In order to make sure your meetings run as smoothly as possible there are some important factors to consider. Billy discusses 4 in this blog.
- How to Transform Diminishing Behaviours into Multiplying Ones - In this blog, Billy looks at some of the ways that managers can reshape their behaviour to multiply their team, giving their team more autonomy and trust.
- How to Facilitate Change in Your Organisation - Maintaining positivity when you need to make changes within an organisation is essential. Paul talks about things you can do to achieve this.
Keep informed about happy workplaces
Sign up to Henry's monthly Happy Manifesto newsletter, full of tips and inspiration to help you to create a happy, engaged workplace.
Learn the 10 core principles to create a happy and productive workplace in Henry Stewart's book, The Happy Manifesto.
Henry's Most Popular Blogs
- 8 Companies That Celebrate Mistakes
- 9 Benefits of Having Happy Employees
- 321Zero: How I Solved my Email Overload
- 16 Companies That Don't Have Managers
- 5 Big Companies Who Swear by Mindfulness
- 49 Steps to a Happy Workplace
- A Four Day Week? Let's Start With a Four Day August
- Google: Hire Great People and Give Them Lots of Autonomy
- Buurtzorg: No Managers, Just Great Care From a Nurse-Led Service
- 30 Steps to Joy at Work: Get More Done by Being Less Busy
Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer
Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.
Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.
His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.
Testimonials from happy Customers
Trusted Customer1 day ago
Great course, enjoyable and useful.
Jackie Costin1 day ago
Roumiana Grigorova1 day ago
I am very happy, taking this training. I would say I am one step more confident. This was an interesting and very useful experience. Our lecture was a great, I have to sa...
Evelyn1 day ago
The trainer covered all the course outline at a steady pace that we can all follow.
Marise Astall-Palin1 day ago
Excellent. Very helpful
Lynda Marshall8 days ago
Really informative and easy to follow instructions.
Philip Abraham9 days ago
The exercises were really well designed and interesting. I learnt a lot, and am looking forward to part 2.
Hannah Wilson17 days ago
I really enjoyed the training.
Trusted Customer20 days ago
Clear and concise training
Esther Dibiaocha24 days ago
Very good and educative. Quite interactive with so much to learn in a day.
Trusted Customer24 days ago
Sometimes I felt it was going too fast. Otherwise excellent training. I would definitely recommend Happy
Claire24 days ago
Excellent course, good balance of participation - would highly recommend