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Annual appraisals

(4 Posts)
Wuldric Tue 09-Jul-13 22:28:58

This is a bit long and quite dull but I would welcome some insights.

My firm is in professional services. It sets utilisation targets. By this I mean that everyone has a set number of chargeable hours that they have to charge to client codes.

This year the firm has decided that everyone who has not met their utilisation targets will automatically be graded as underperforming. The thing is that these people are competent people. The reason they are not meeting their utilisation targets is that they have not been provided with enough chargeable work to do. They are at grades where it is literally impossible for them to affect whether or not they get chargeable work.

To me it looks very much as though the firm does not want to make more redundancies (other firms are currently going through redundancy processes) but they want to force people out.

So here I am in charge of a team, three of whom are classed as underperforming (and believe you me, my team escaped lightly), and I have to agree their performance improvement plans and there is nothing they can do to improve their performance against this utilisation target. It's simply a product of the recession.

Is this even legal? I am consulting an employment lawyer on the side but I would welcome views here ...

flowery Wed 10-Jul-13 08:40:39

The law doesn't get involved in things like appraisal ratings, so as long as the criteria used for assessment aren't discriminatory in any way, it's perfectly legal to use charged hours as a criterion.

Doesn't seem particularly fair I grant you, if these people genuinely cannot do anything to get more work in in terms of marketing/business development, and are literally given work.

I presume you have spoken to the relevant senior management about this. What was the response?

Wuldric Wed 10-Jul-13 08:59:45

The response was incomprehensible. They have agreed that we don't have to put into place any performance improvement plans though, which is good! Not very motivational for good and valued staff members. Thanks for responding, very helpful.

flowery Wed 10-Jul-13 09:48:54

I totally agree with you. Bad practice, not motivational and risks worsening performance as staff are demotivated and feel undervalued.

But perfectly legal I'm afraid. And not unusual in professional services either, sadly.

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