Employee appraisals are a cause of butt ache in almost every organization. Majority of the people I have known/worked with hate this time of the year. In most of the places, appraisals are done in an ass backward way, where in, during some pre defined interval, you fill a form with all the potions you invented to cure cancer and then expound on how this has revolutionized the medical field(sic sic).
I feel there is a better way to do appraisals. Let me outline it. Regular one on ones should be mandated by the organisation with whomever you are reporting to. During these one on ones, the manager/lead jots down what went well during the time, how did you contribute to this, what was your role, did you go out of your way in putting the task on a fast track, did you do something that not only benefits this particular project/task but the organisation as a whole, did you help anyone when they were stuck etc etc. These questions can be mapped to the vision/mission statement/OKRs/whatever of the org. Also, the manager asks each of the team member as to did anyone else in the team help them in any significant manner. This is peer feedback on a regular basis.
The advantage with this approach is, when it is appraisal time, you do not have to fill a lengthy form and scratch your head as to what you did during this period or fill a peer review form because your manager already has it. Due to the weekly interactions and note taking, the manager has a very good idea of each employee’s strength weakness etc and can outline it in a coherent manner to the upper management and make a clear case for hike/promotion/demotion/pink slip etc.
I feel this approach takes the pain out of employees and makes the appraisals more meaningful rather than some namesake process.