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Almost half of employees think that their boss is dishonest during appraisal processes, while a third think the whole process is a waste of time, according to research by productivity body Investors in People.

The survey found that 44 per cent of workers had had appraisals in which they thought their superior had been dishonest, and 29 per cent had had ones which had been a waste of time. A fifth had had appraisals that they said were unfair.

Employees also attacked the seriousness with which the increasingly common appraisal process is taken by employers. A quarter said their managers saw it as just a 'box ticking' exercise, while a fifth said they believed their boss did not even think about the appraisal before entering the interview room.

Appraisals are becoming more common, especially in larger organisations. The survey found that 81 per cent of people in organisations with more than 250 employees had annual reviews, a figure that fell to just 54 per cent of workers in organisations of fewer than 250.

The survey revealed that many employees have a jaundiced view of the process. A fifth of surveyed workers said that their boss rarely or never acts on what is talked about in appraisals.

"It is a concern that some managers may be letting down their employees by failing to give full and frank feedback," said Simon Jones, acting chief executive at Investors in People. "Annual reviews can be hugely beneficial to both employer and employee, identifying areas for development as well as ensuring the employee feels motivated, engaged and part of the organisation's success. However, many of these benefits will be lost if managers avoid difficult issues and hold things back."

The most suspicious employees are in accountancy and financial services and the public sector, where 48 per cent and 47 per cent of workers respectively believe bosses are dishonest in the appraisals process.

Just under a third of workers wanted more regular appraisals, found the survey, while 40 per cent said that they have been surprised at what they hear in the annual review process, it found.

"Employees are not just after honest, but also regular feedback throughout the year so there aren't any big surprises when it comes to the annual review," said Jones. "Appraisals should always cover both past performance and objectives, but equally important are discussions of future targets and opportunities."

"It's a great chance for managers to make sure their employees feel challenged and valued for the year ahead, rather than unmotivated and without guidance," he said.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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