Workers: Performance Appraisal Programs Suffer Blemishes

February 4, 2003 ( - Company performance management programs got less than sterling grades in a recent survey.

According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting 2002 People at Work Survey , employees said their employer’s performance management program didn’t operate as well as it should. The areas where the appraisal programs got marked down are apparent in answers to a series of survey questions and the resulting favorable responses:

  • “My manager regularly coaches me on improving my performance” (26% favorable)
  • “When I do a good job, my performance is rewarded” (29% favorable)
  • “Employees in my department who perform poorly are appropriately managed” (29% favorable)
  • “I have had a formal performance appraisal in the last 12 months” (33% said yes)
  • “My manager gives me regular, informal feedback on my performance” (42% favorable).

On the bright side, six of 10 respondents said they had well-defined performance goals and objectives and that they understood how they would be evaluated. Just over half said their latest appraisal helped them find ways to improve and that their employer’s process properly distinguished high performers from laggards.

Survey findings also included:

  • among employees who said they’d had a formal performance appraisal in the last 12 months, 62% expressed a strong sense of commitment to their organization.   This compares to 49% for employees who had not had a formal performance appraisal during the past 12 months.
  • among employees who are coached by their manager, 80% feel a strong sense of commitment to the organization, compared to 46% among employees who are not coached.
  • among employees who say they have clearly defined performance goals, only 18% are seriously thinking about leaving their organization, while among those without clearly defined goals, 46% are thinking of leaving.  
  • among employees who say good performance is recognized, 81% express overall satisfaction with their organization, compared to 37% for those who say good performance is not recognized.  

Through its survey Mercer asked 2,600 US workers at more than 1,100 employers to share their attitudes and perceptions regarding their job, organization, work environment, compensation, benefits, and the management of their organization.