Advantages and Disadvantages of Performance Appraisals

by Patricia Lotich on July 29, 2014

Employees, as well as managers, often question why organizations do employee performance appraisals. Anyone who has received or been given a performance appraisal could argue why they perceive it to be ineffective and a complete waste of time.

So what exactly is a performance appraisal?

A performance appraisal is an evaluation done on an employee’s job performance over a specific period of time. It is the equivalent of a report card on an employee and how their manager assessed their performance over the prior year.

Anyone who has worked in more than one department or at more than one organization can attest to the fact that not all performance appraisal processes are the same.

The varying systems and processes are all over the map.  Unfortunately, some are done so poorly that they are not only designed to fail, but also to create a negative experience for both the manager as well as the employee.

So why do organizations do performance appraisals?

advantages and disadvantages of performance appraisalThere are many varying opinions on the subject of performance appraisals and why they are done.  Some organizations do performance appraisals because they feel obligated to do them – because everyone else does.

Some organizations do performance appraisals to make sure they have a piece of paper in the employee’s file – in case they ever need to do corrective action.

But successful organizations understand the importance of incorporating performance appraisals into their performance management process and strategy.

Advantages of performance appraisals:

  • They provide a document of employee performance over a specific period of time.
  • They provide a structure where a manager can meet and discuss performance with an employee.
  • They allow a manager the opportunity to provide the employee with feedback about their performance and discuss how well the employee goals were accomplished.
  • They provide a structured process for an employee to clarify expectations and discuss issues with their manager.
  • They provide a structure for thinking through and planning the upcoming year and developing employee goals.
  • They can motivate employees if supported by a good merit increase and compensation system.

Disadvantages of performance appraisals:

  • If not done right, they can create a negative experience.
  • Performance appraisals are very time consuming and can be overwhelming to managers with many employees.
  • They are based on human assessment and are subject to rater errors and biases.
  • Can be a waste of time if not done appropriately.
  • They can create a very stressful environment for everyone involved.

Finally, performance appraisals are only as good as the performance management system it operates within.  Organizations that only do performance appraisals for the sake of doing them are wasting their time.

But organizations that incorporate performance appraisals into a comprehensive performance management system and use them to implement business goals have an advantage for accomplishing their goals and ultimately their strategic plan.

If you are interested in learning more about performance appraisals, you might find this book: Performance Appraisal Source Book: A Collection of Practical Samples helpful.

If you found this article helpful, please share it!

photo by: thinkpanama

article originally posted April, 2010, updated July, 2014.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

DOROTHY RITA PULLE September 15, 2011 at 4:00 am

Iam a student and this article has helped me to understand better.
it is simple and easy to understand.
thank you


Rodwell Hachoose October 24, 2012 at 1:57 am

This article has being of much great importance to my career development. Well arranged and easier to understand.
Hoping to get more such articles.


Patricia October 24, 2012 at 7:28 am

Thanks for the kinds words!



aman ullah November 15, 2012 at 4:58 am

I am a student and this article has helped me to understand better.
it is simple and easy to understand. but i want date when it writtten and who is the writer of this artical
thank you


Patricia November 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thank you for the comment!



aman khan November 19, 2012 at 4:11 am

dear sir/madam,

i would like to ask u that when this article is written. could you tell me date.


Patricia November 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

Hi. This article was published April 8, 2010.

Thanks for the inquiry!



Corry July 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

Thanks for the article. What are your thoughts on alternatives to traditional performance reviews?


Patricia Lotich July 22, 2014 at 7:45 am

Hi Corry. Thanks for the comment. I think there can be alternatives to the traditional performance review as long as the basic elements apply. That is, good communication by setting clear and measurable expectations and holding people accountable for stated responsibilities.

Thanks for the comment!



basheer k August 15, 2014 at 10:23 pm

certain service sectors, achievements either of group efforts or almost similar and accomplished
with almost satisfactory and no gap in between excellent and others.

how do we conduct without demotion feeling to other employees.


Patricia Lotich August 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Hi Basheer. Conducting performance appraisals should be done with sensitivity to the feelings of the employee. However, sometimes there needs to be a difficult conversation but it can and should be done professionally and with tact. An employee who receives a less than favorable review should walk out of the meeting understanding the reason why and knowing the path forward to improving their performance. Thanks for the comment.



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