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5 Common Errors in Performance Appraisal: How to Avoid Them? Insights from a Singapore Recruitment Consultancy

This image illustrate a sharing session between a client and a recruitment consultancy firm in Singapore how to avoid common errors during appraisal process.

Performance Appraisal, Performance Review, Performance Evaluation – no matter how you package these words, they are one of the most essential tools in managing employee performance, yet they are one of the most difficult to get right in recruitment consultancy.

When conducted well, appraisals can motivate employees and boost their enthusiasm for the job. If done incorrectly, it can lower morale or even result in the employee quitting!

Here is a list of common performance appraisal errors observed in our 30-over years of recruitment consultancy. Find out how they happen and what managers can do to avoid them so as to get the most out of any evaluation exercise. 


Halo-Horn Effect

The Halo Effect is where the supervisor allows a highly favourable characteristic of the subordinate to colour their judgement. For example, the supervisor may give a glowing appraisal because he is overly focused on the employee’s superb communication skills while overlooking the fact that the individual often fails to meet his KPIs. 

Conversely, the Horn Effect occurs when the supervisor allows an extremely unfavourable employee characteristic to affect the entire evaluation. To avoid such biases, the manager has to make a conscious effort to keep a record of the tasks and achievements the employee has undertaken. In addition to that, the manager has to remember that an evaluation, as its name implies, should allow both the appraiser and the employee to give and receive valuable feedback so that the evaluation can be objective and fair. 


Overemphasis on Recent Performance

Just as most people find it easier to recall the latest incidents, supervisors have a tendency to focus on the employees’ recent performance rather than take a holistic view of their work. This can lead to inaccurate and unfair assessments. 

To add to that, when feedback is not given regularly but only during the half-yearly or annual performance appraisal, an assessment of work that was done at the beginning of the year may be given too late to make a positive impact. To circumvent this, managers should try to keep track and review the employee’s performance at regular intervals throughout the year and not wait until the annual assessment.



This cuts both ways – the supervisor may favour a particular employee because of friendly work relations or be extra harsh in the appraisal if past incidents had soured relationships. 

As the appraiser, make sure you have a strong sense of fairness. Don’t overlook your favoured employee’s mistakes during the appraisal process. Neither should you give your subordinate a poor review just because there’s something about him you don’t like. Performance appraisals should be about the performance and what can be done, not about the employee’s personal traits.


Not Recognising Achievements

Over the 2 years of Covid-19 challenges, many employees have come to view job satisfaction as well as mental and emotional well-being as important factors in their careers. When achievements are not recognised and employees feel that their work is not valued, they tend to become disengaged and lose enthusiasm in their work. 

With hybrid work arrangements being the norm for many organisations and face-to-face interactions not as frequent as before, performance appraisals are good opportunities to appreciate employees for their accomplishments and strengths. Such constructive feedback will improve not only their performance but strengthen engagement as well. 


Not Setting Measurable Goals, Not following-up

Performance appraisals that end with just letter grades or scores don’t help employees or the company in moving forward or in producing visible and measurable results.

Instead, what is needed is a clear follow-up plan.

Work with each employee to set a list of realistic goals for the coming year or months, supported by data generated during the evaluation. Check in with the employee regularly to make sure milestones are being met. Ensure there are measurable ways to track process and status throughout the year. If rewards were promised during the review, ensure it is delivered in a timely manner. 

This infographic summarises the 5 common errors in performance appraisal i.e. halo / horn effect, recency error, favouritism, not recognising achievements, and not setting measurable goals.


Performance Review Can Set the Stage for Increased Performance and Engagement

Regardless of the role of the employee, a performance review is an overview of past performance where the supervisor and subordinate evaluate job performance, productivity, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses against a predetermined set of criteria.

When sufficient thought is given, the evaluation can set the stage for increased performance and employee engagement. It can also help the manager better plan the employees’ career paths within the organisation, which can, in turn, help the company and employees meet their goals. But without efficient planning, the appraisal would be a wasted effort with the manager wondering why there are no measurable follow-on results. 

If you have queries on how you can better manage your talent pool or are looking at ways to get improved results from your performance appraisals, we can help you. As an established recruitment consultancy in Singapore, our recruitment consultants have decades of consulting experience in search and placement as well as outplacement matters. Contact us at or 63230050 to schedule a consultation on your company’s HR needs.