Is there a more maligned piece of paperwork in the workplace than the performance management/appraisal form?

"The forms are too long and too complicated".  

"It takes too much time to complete the forms".

"The rating scale has too many/too few options". 

The list goes on and on.

It is much easier to blame the symptoms (the forms and process) than the root cause of ineffective and inefficient performance management - inadequate day-to-day leadership.

The forms, while intended to be a helpful tool for performance management, instead often serve to drag performance management down to the lowest common denominator.

Some managers hide behind the forms, using them as a crutch during performance discussions with their people, rather than having a more natural and genuine conversation.

In other instances, the forms end up being a catch all for every possible scenario and become so laden with detail that the real purpose of performance management gets lost in a pile of paperwork.

Yes sure, there may be some fine-tuning which would help improve your performance management forms. But the forms aren't the real issue, are they?

To be a really effective tool in driving performance and engagement, performance management needs to provide a greater outcomes focus rather than the current input/compliance focus which promotes a tick the box approach.

For example, is the objective of performance planning to fill out a form or is it rather to ensure that an employee and their manager are both crystal clear about what outcomes the employee needs to achieve in their role and associated behavioural expectations?

What would happen if your organisation abolished the forms and focussed on the critical performance management outcomes - high performance through clear expectations, feedback, coaching and development?  Now that's performance management.