Who cares about performance reviews and appraisals?

Who cares about performance reviews and appraisals?


Let’s face it.

Appraisals are boring. A waste of time for everyone involved: the employer and the employee. They only really happen in corporate environments, don’t they? The places where they simply have to tick a box to say that it’s done? We could all be getting on with something much more interesting / productive / worthwhile for the company, right?

In my experience of the creative and advertising world (a whole 8 years), and from speaking to those that have been in the industry for over 30 years, it would seem that not enforcing appraisals is a way of flipping the bird to the corporate system.

We are far too cool and casual to deal with performance reviews. Our day to day agency lives are far too fast paced to even consider discussing our, or anyone else’s progression. What we do daily is more important than thinking about the future for those that work with us.

Also, doesn’t an appraisal mean a pay rise EVERY TIME someone is actually doing their job correctly?

If you are avidly nodding along to this so far then keep on reading.

I know a great many people within the advertising and creative arena that are pro-appraisals. But unless the majority is on board with the importance of them and the reasons WHY we actually do them, then unfortunately, those people are outnumbered.

I want to tell you why performance reviews and appraisals should be the first thing that you should consider as a business; any business; in any industry.


As a society and a culture in general, we’ve massively lost an awareness of ourselves and those around us. Not everyone has… but the majority of people lack in this area (sorry but it’s true!). Appraisals, if they are done with respect, honesty and compassion, help build the awareness of the individual within their role. They become aware of their strengths and their current weaknesses in their role. They realise the impact that they PERSONALLY have on the business. Furthermore, they realise that any improvements regarding their performance is purely that; it’s not to do with their character; or a personal attack. If you are the employer in this scenario and you’re thinking “oh, but I always chat regularly to my staff and they can come to me with anything on their mind” then I ask you, with respect, to focus on your own awareness as well.


Obviously an appraisal can’t simply be telling someone how shit they are in their job. Or, on the other hand, biggin’ them up so much that they feel they can do no wrong. The more confidence someone has in themselves, the better they are at making decisions that are right for the company. Confidence doesn’t mean a big-headed arrogance, which is why it’s so important to discuss flaws and weaknesses. Giving employees accountability and ownership for their role means that they understand the importance of what they do and why they do it.


Oof. The word that a lot of employers dislike because they believe it comes hand in hand with a salary increase. Believe it or not, not everyone is out there for money. (How mad is that? Are you getting my sarcasm?) Believe it or not, most people love to learn. (That bit isn’t sarcastic…) We get so lost in a world of numbers that we forget that actually…for most people, especially your employees… it isn’t about that. If it was, they would have started their own business already. Of course, PLEASE ensure that the work responsibilities are symbiotic to the work salary. But if an individual wants to learn something new, let them. More often than not, it is beneficial for the company. And you may even come across talents that you didn’t even know were there. Appraisals open doors to many possibilities that, perhaps, you wouldn’t have even talked about.

Staff Retention

Everyone wants to be heard and for their feelings to be valued (roll your eyes all you want but again this is true; we are but human). By providing a “formal” platform for your employees to express themselves, it will increase retention of those you want to keep. It gives you the chance to improve the staff who need to improve within their roles. And it also provides the documentation required if an employee isn’t performing effectively.

Company progression

They say honesty is the best policy. By being open to the feedback that your employees provide about the company processes; particular members of staff (think 360s); and anything else they believe requires improvement; your company will keep evolving. If at any point, you believe nothing within the company needs to change, then I’m afraid you probably need to change quite a lot. But on the flipside, I’m not saying try to change everything at once either. It’s about balance.

In a nutshell, don’t forget that companies are made up of PEOPLE. And these people are responsible for the SERVICES, which the company provides…which consequently equates to your CLIENTS’ HAPPINESS … which affects the PROFIT AND LOSS figures.

It’s a no-brainer, really.

So, next time you postpone that appraisal or roll your eyes at having to give 360 feedback, think about what that individual can bring to the business, or what that business can bring to the individual. Think about how taking the time out to consider either your own, your employees’ or your colleagues’ development can only be a positive thing in the long run for all parties involved.

At the very least, give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen?