Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead

Regardless of from which side of the desk one has experienced the rite known as the performance appraisal, there are many who will welcome the authors’ provocative proposal. Coens is an attorney and organizational trainer; Jenkins is a former human resources director at a division of General Motors. They acknowledge the countless books about performance appraisals and note that most suggest ways to make appraisal systems work better. Coens and Jenkins argue instead that appraisals do not accomplish what they are supposed to and that, in fact, they are counterproductive. They offer compelling evidence to demonstrate that appraisals backfire as they examine the five functions (coaching, feedback, setting pay, determining promotions, and documentation) for which appraisals are designed. Then they lay down sequential steps for phasing out appraisals and for designing and implementing separately the alternatives they propose for each function. The authors rate an “excellent” for demonstrating the ability to think creatively and for generally exceeding expectations for books in this category. — David Rouse
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