Performance appraisal vs. management

Reuben Ray
4 min readFeb 9, 2022


a story of everyday cringes at the workplace. Performance Management Grid Performance Management Grid

Building a new tool, the engineer wanted to explain the details to the marketing team to build their campaign…”this function enhances the ability to produce more heat for higher efficiency….” quipped the Engineer while a retinue of “wait, hang on…” from the marketing team dulled the detailing.

“We do not need finer details. We can add that to the document. Let the customer read it. We need focus on its new colors and button functionalities,” added the Marketing Head. The engineer nodded in silence and stepped aside. The job was done and the detail lost to the crowded affirmation.

Often, this is how often we are silenced when we want to explain finer details to determine an efficient process but do not get to voice it as no one seems no longer interested in understanding things fully. This is a regressive move back to the 80s, if you understand what I mean.

  1. Performance is a combination of multiple factors; measuring only the outcome is belittling the finer aspects which can be organized for targeted improvement in employees individually or as a cluster. Defining performance is the first step.
  2. Unless business wants to learn about people, improving people factors in performance will remain a function rather than an objective. Understanding those finer details for anyone who leads a team becomes a primer.
  3. Performance appraisal is a function; mostly done to define salary upgrades and promotions. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT is linking the finer details to learning, scoring and measuring on a continuous basis for employees to self-improve and conquer their inhibitions to a great extent. This is why the power of self-motivation has remained an individual success and not practiced as a systemic ritual.
  4. OKRs put the levers of driving the organization at the hands of leaders. A more constructive approach will be to allow them to be linked to Org objectives ( I’ve written about it in a forthcoming book). This puts the burden and the knowledge at the top layer, which likens to a cake; gorgeous on looks, palatable but might need improvements in taste.
  5. Most HR Managers find complexity unpalatable. It is not easy to deal with numbers if we find it too complex. Unless HR Managers are trained to deal in logic and numerical skills, organizations will struggle with cracking the magic of human performance potential and end up dealing with simple tools which do simple things.
  6. Most complexity involves numbers with logic. If performance is not adequate, it is pertinent to measure and address the gaps, rather than appraise employees at the end of the year and let go to hire the next set of people to be appraised and let go. Ever tried to measure the correlation between hiring and performance? Try it or reach out to me to help you out.
  7. The adept chutzpah with which HR tools trying to sell themselves as AI-driven systems is adding insult to to the injury. All of them are simple logic-based systems with little hints of machine learning capabilities. But without a taste in the finer details of technology, we will be fooled gloriously till the reality hits us hard. It’s like the new and advanced version of FMCG packets which keep tempting our knowledge. Ever seen the details and compared what extra dose of chemical is being added to claim the ‘advanced version’? Try it, and you will have a good laugh.
  8. Most CXOs are more driven by numbers and strategy and forget the elephant in the room; it is the performance capabilities of the people who would deliver it. Left to the HR Manager who hates complexity, it is a cringe and none wants to explore and solve it! The founders and management keep paying the price and the elephant stands right there!
  9. Solving and improving performance isn’t a hard task if adequately addressed; divide the tasks and create benchmarks for each skill at each level. This simple one-time exercise does take time in the first go, and once done, it delivers wonders. But CXOs would allocate budgets for international vacations but shy away at budgeting for people practices.
  10. Ever wondered why is seems so easy for some people to perform a skill or sport while it looks like a mountain for others? Performance is the combination of skills + practice. Be it a Lionel Messi, Serena Williams or Eliud Kipchoge, it also requires self-motivating as a org ritual to be delivered through intelligence amplified tools like SURE from

Human needs are two types; material & psychological.

Material needs are easy to determine & deliver; psychological needs’ may not be visible or openly expressed.

Psychological needs’ emanate from values, which in turn form the culture within organisations, exhibited as behavior.

Psychological needs could be further divided into hygiene versus motivational needs. Motivational needs linked with performance objectives help fitting the square employees in the square jobs.

Most organisations I have surveyed highlight value gaps between the employee versus leadership determination of needs, leading to a breach of trust and confidence amongst the team and thus, lowered engagement and productivity for optimum performance standards. The post-action is a consultative process which requires budgeting from the management; the earlier the better for all of us.

When was the last time you conducted a performance optimisation standard for your organization? I’m keen for your feedback at



Reuben Ray

Author of Reasoning Our Choices & HR Analytics In-Depth; Co-Founder, & a passionate People Coach