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Survey Finds Wide Discrepancy in Perceived Value of Performance Assessments

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- How useful are performance reviews? It depends on whom you ask. In an Accountemps survey, 94 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said formal evaluations are either somewhat or very effective in helping employees improve their performance. Yet nearly one in three workers (31 percent) disagreed, calling these appraisals either somewhat or very ineffective.

The surveys of CFOs and workers were developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey of CFOs is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. The worker survey includes responses from 422 working adults 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

CFOs were asked, "In your opinion, how effective are annual or semiannual performance reviews in helping employees improve their performance?" Their responses:

                  Very effective 


                  Somewhat effective


                  Somewhat ineffective                      


                  Very ineffective  


                  Don't know 




Workers were asked, "In your opinion, how effective are annual or semiannual performance reviews in helping you improve your performance?" Their responses:

                  Very effective 


                  Somewhat effective


                  Somewhat ineffective 


                  Very ineffective  


                  Don't receive performance reviews 


                  Don't know                              




"The success or failure of an appraisal depends on how clearly both performance expectations and feedback are communicated to employees," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Managers and their staff should be in agreement at the outset on what criteria will be used to evaluate effectiveness in a given role." 

Performance reviews shouldn't be delivered just once a year, Messmer cautioned. "Nothing discussed in a formal evaluation should come as a surprise to the employee," he said. "The best managers regularly give their teams performance feedback throughout the year."

Accountemps offers the following do's and don'ts to help managers conduct effective performance reviews:



Criticize the person in general.

Provide constructive feedback on specific performance issues so staff know exactly what they need to improve.

Sugarcoat the issues and avoid discussing real problems.

Be upfront about areas for improvement.

Wing it.


Dominate the conversation.

Engage employees. Remember that it is a two-way conversation.

Ask employees to come empty-handed.

Ask your team members to conduct a self-assessment of their progress toward goals set during the prior review cycle. 

Focus only on the negative.

Tell staff what they are doing well to recognize accomplishments and reinforce positive performance.

Go it alone. 

Ask for feedback from other colleagues for a more well-rounded review.

About Accountemps
Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Accountemps for workplace news at

Accountemps recently produced a series of videos highlighting Bob from Accountemps, the fast, efficient, go-to accounting professional. Find out why Bob is so popular with his clients and coworkers alike in these humorous videos:

SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Michael Weiss, +1-650-234-6383,