Those who are interested in this area may have noticed a recent plethora of media announcing that Deloitte, Accenture and some other major organisations have proclaimed that six-monthly or annual performance appraisals are both costly and ineffective.

So they are seeking to replace these with less formal fortnightly manager/team catch-ups, or something similar.

It is a bit interesting that some major consulting firms are advocating the change, after having charged clients significant sums to implement the very systems they are now decrying, and perhaps creating new consulting opportunities.  Am I being cynical here?

I have no doubt that six-monthly reviews are not perfect, but suspect a lot of the deficiencies come from poor preparation and lack of follow up.  There is also the possibility that managers are "going through the motions" rather than genuinely seeking to drive an outcome that is positive for both parties.

If this is accurate, why on earth would a better outcome be expected for fortnightly "chats", or a similar system?  I suspect that time pressed managers and staff will struggle to find meaningful time on a fortnightly basis, if they can't manage it successfully each six months.

This has been supported by an anonymous blog from a Deloitte team member, who has basically said that the fortnightly meetings are preoccupied with "what will you have done by when" rather than genuine personal development.  The blogger went on to say that he/she thought it was just an excuse to extract some more billable time!

We seek to make our "personal development plan" (PDP) meetings meaningful, one outcome being each team member articulating their own goals, and the very specific actions they will be taking.  This is followed by six-weekly meetings to check on the progress on the actions.  In general this drives a culture where at the next PDP, the goals will have been met, and we are then looking forward to the next set.

A perfect system?  Undoubtedly not, but we have found it to be structured and reasonably effective, which I suspect may be an issue for some of the alternatives being promoted.

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