Is the Annual Appraisal Fit for Purpose?

Discussion in 'Reports & Promotion' started by Scribbler, Jan 26, 2011.

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  1. YES

    22 vote(s)
  2. NO

    16 vote(s)
  1. Care to help an old soldier with a CSE in metalwork obtain his MSc? I'm not on a witch hunt and not screaming for reform of the Annual Appraisal, but I do want to canvas your views.

    The Annual Appraisal has two distinct functions:

    1. It informs the subject, formally and honestly, how well he has done and identifies his potential; from this the Reporting Officer can advise the subject how to improve his performance and enhance his potential.

    2. When considered with all his previous reports, iit is used for career management at the Army Personnel Centre, including where appropriate, selection for promotion, selection for commission, selection for position, change of commission, change of engagement, aspirations for future assignments and training.

    Are you satisfied that the Annual Appraisal fulfills all of the functions listed in the above statement? Could I ask you to complete the poll below (if I am able to make it that is, otherwise just join the thread).
  2. I think the form and the layout of an OJAR is fine but the method of delivering and managing it by JPA is a nightmare. Bring back the old 3.5" floppies (fnar fnar)
  3. In my opinion (which isnt much) the old 6 monthly reports ( blue book) and the yearly CR's I got in the late 80's and 90's seem to be set out a lot better. I just think having the new OJAR/SJARs etc are complicating issues and dont give as much value or information for career structuring. Maybe Im just too long in the tooth and dont like change but i cant see why putting all this on JPA has helped as for a lot of the youngsters its hard to get on terminals and then wait half a hour for the appraisals to said only my opinion so not worth much weight.
  4. Personally, I prefer the new system. The only problem is people aren't getting to grips on how to use it. The paper system was too open to abuse (the 'it was done and must have been lost in the post' to the open forging of signatures). At least now a reporting officer is tied to that report until he has finished it and not think that it won't follow him on posting.

    In the infantry, where Pte and LCpl reports are kept inhouse and not sent to APC, it ensures that the juniors actually get a report. Big Brother can look and see if reports are being raised and actioned. I'm sceptable that everyone got one before, either on yellow or (for the real oldies) the beige book.

    One last point, everyone says that getting on JPA is a problem for the lads. Strange how it's a problem when they are told to do something (leave pass, check EC) but they all manage to get one when they want a claim.
  5. The OJAR itself and the JPA-delivery system (irritating though that is - anyone else astounded that a company can make the 'print appraisal' routine quite so counter-intuitive?) are perfectly acceptable vehicles for the task.

    The core problem is the people involved in the reporting process - having been on a board recently, it is clear that your chances of promotion are directly affected by the ability of your ROs (mainly 2nd and, where present, 3rd) and the effort they put in to highlighting those aspects that the board sees as important. If you are being reported on by an intellectual midget whose own career has stalled because they just 'don't get it' ('it' being an understanding of the qualities necessary for advancement in the service), then they are unlikely to be able to write coherently or understand what points they ought to be making. Conversely, there are 'clever' ROs who know what buttons to press, and press them regardless of whether the individual really deserves it or not.

    'Alignment meetings' (because one is not allowed to hold a gradings board) are only useful in placing people in merit order within that organisation - I have no doubt that it is frustrating to be 'in the bottom third' at PJHQ, despite being streets ahead of the 'top third' in HQBF Gibraltar. How do you achieve alignment across multiple organisations? Obviously, you shouldn't have to, because everyone will stick rigidly to the marking guide...but they don't. And then you factor in the tri-service reporting chains and even civil servants who, with the best will in the world, get no training, don't know what the board will be interested in (being good at managing your work-life balance by strictly working core hours, would be an unhelpful comment in an OJAR). It is incumbent on subsequent ROs to make sure they influence such chains of command BEFORE the report is written, delivered and drops into their 2RO in-box.

    Then there are those ROs who are too spineless to be honest with subjects - it fails both the individual (because they have false hopes that are then routinely dashed) and it makes Boarding very difficult once you are below the 'stars' and are trying to separate the 'middles'. This is probably the main failing of the system.
  6. I agree completely with the above. The perceived problems with OJAR/SJAR are almost identical to the historical problems of the Annual Report. It's really only the method of delivery and language used that has changed.

    The need to get certain people promoted, self-interest, inter-unit disconnect and ability of 1RO and 2RO ranged alongside abilities of board members to interpret that which is written conspire against the system being GOOD.

    I have long believed that whilst the system is far from perfect it is probably too difficult to make it any better. (Clearly my intellectual limitations are what will prevent me promoting higher than I already have!)

    Some time should perhaps be spent on the "reality" of the situation with regard Alignment Meetings. A unit, situated not a kilometre away from where I type, has this week held a Grading and Shading Board. What's in a word you might ask? What indeed? As Fifth Cs 3rd paragraph explains above, the difference between top 3rd and bottom 3rd of 2 separate, operationally different HQs is bad enough, but spread that thought process across a Really Large Corps for example and the perceptions of 2ROs and the value of such statements is fairly obvious.

    As I wrote earlier, it's not a great system but I think the Organisation is too bulky to manage it any better.
  7. Gentlemen, thank you for some well considered responses, making for excellent debate! For future readers please remember to add your response to this poll using the buttons at the top of the thread. 360+ views in the first 3 hours with only 12 responses. It takes less than 20 seconds to complete and the results will greatly add weight to my paper.
  8. We might all complain about the reporting system but, at least, we have one and it works.

    Look at the Civil Service system. All the writing in the world about competences and targets ad nauseam...

    ...and then it goes to HR and never sees the light of day again.

  9. I would suggest that 30% of the user population - the reserve forces - having difficulty accessing the system consititutes a fail in the very basics of project management/ software roll out that would not be tolerated in the private sector.

    So the Company Commander of xx RILFES is still working a paper based system with a clerk double keying the SJAR/OJAR - no wonder we are being considered for budget cuts.

    Fifth_columnist - point well made about the use of the forced ranking - the major weakness is well intentioned enablers "pre - qualifiying" people before the board. Bottom third is bottom third and should not be presented to the Board, regardless of job. So the bloke with the demanding Ops role misses out to the bloke that had a "good exercise/ ECI" etc - it happens.

    Big_Bad_Bill - no one is really watching, it's a myth that MS are actually monitoring compliance, they are asleep at the wheel.
  11. The subjects themselves can exasperate this problem as they are not willing to look around them and honestly appraise their own performance. This leads to overexpectation and in turn pressure on the already spinless ROs out there.

    We all know who is better than us and who works harder than us (not just stay in office later types but genuinely works harder) people need to accept that the majority of folk are average - hence the tag.
  12. Hootch - I beg to differ. My unit received a large kick in the balls in 2009 because so many LCpl/Pte reports were outstanding and I'm often chased by MCM Div for reports outstanding.
  13. This thread and the poll at the top of the page almost mirror exactly what is being said by the regular army officers and warrant officers that I have spoken to. Two thirds of those who are subject to OJAR/SJAR think it is fit for purpose, but when asked if they would like to see peer or subordinate input, that figure drops to around 50%. Is there concern that input by peers or subordinates would mean extra work for reporting officers that results in the easy answer being "it works find as it is"? If, for example, peers and/or subordinates reported on the subject using JPA and those reports were presented as "average or mean scores" without additional work for reporting officers, would this be a good or bad thing? I'd appreciate some of your thoughts.

    By the way if you haven't already done so, could you complete the one question poll at the top of this thread. Many thanks
  14. the biggest issue is that due to lack of terminals epsecially on Ops there either getting wrote to early or in fact rushed to meet the tight deadlines epsecailly when units are PDT months spent away from parent unit, usually in transit accommodation with no DII.