Are appraisals a waste of time?

Agony uncle and University of Westminster's visiting professor of PR Trevor Morris gives it to you straight

Trevor Morris: PRWeek's agony uncle
Trevor Morris: PRWeek's agony uncle

How can I stop the appraisal system just becoming time-consuming and stressful?

Jolly difficult. Many appraisal systems are more about process than judgement. They achieve nothing that couldn’t be achieved with a rise, chat or p45.

As a basic principle, appraisees should never be surprised by what they are told at an appraisal – praise, advice and criticism shouldn’t be once-a-year events. An appraisal should be a confirmation of everything said over the preceding period, not an embarrassing period of self-flagellation, cod psychology or bullying.

And if an appraiser tells someone to improve or change, then the request should be doable. There is no point in telling someone to get taller… unless they want to look like Nicolas Sarkozy.

Got a problem? Contact Trevor at

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