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Appraising clever people: lessons from introducing performance reviews for academics in a UK University

Hedda Bird (3C Perform, Henley on Thames, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to build understanding of how to engage a highly educated workforce with the benefits of performance management through sharing the lessons learned from introducing performance reviews (appraisals) into an academic environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a case study of a four-year programme in a UK higher education establishment. The author was closely involved in the last two years of the programme, and completed a detailed evaluation of the programme for the client.

Findings

Performance management creates significant value within a highly educated workforce through bringing together individual capability and expertise to focus on delivering the strategy. Obstacles to success such as routine complaints of “time-wasting” and “pointlessness” can be overcome by wide and deep engagement with employees throughout the design and development of the approach.

Research limitations/implications

This is a single case study; however, the author has worked on many similar programmes with highly educated work forces with very similar results.

Practical implications

The vast majority of staff positively want a high-quality performance review; the practical challenge is to channel this desire into shared ownership and responsibility for the success of performance review in practice.

Originality/value

Literature abounds with analysis of what is wrong with performance review, this paper is a rarer piece in that it develops our understanding of how to set up performance management and review for success.

Keywords

Citation

Bird, H. (2015), "Appraising clever people: lessons from introducing performance reviews for academics in a UK University", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 81-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-10-2014-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited