How can Organizations Effectively use Performance Appraisal Systems and Competent Evaluator to Retain Knowledge Workers? A Systematic Review of the Literature

Organizations can improve the retention of knowledge workers by identifying them, segmenting them, and strategically deploying suitable performance appraisal systems. Using competent raters can improve positive reaction to appraisal outcomes and potentially mitigate intention to quit.

Organizations have long struggled with appropriate interventions to mitigate knowledge worker turnover. Because of their unique skills, knowledge workers have a considerably higher rate of turnover than traditional workers, and they are expensive to replace. Organizations can use performance appraisal systems to identify and retain critical employees. Knowledge workers enable organizations to remain creative and innovative as well as maintain their competitive edge. The purpose of this study was to use systematic review of extant literature to show how organizations can effectively use performance appraisal systems and competent evaluators to improve the retention of knowledge workers. This was done by gathering evidence on performance appraisal systems and knowledge workers from various databases and conducting a rigorous synthesis of available evidence.
The efficacy of appraisal systems in mitigating knowledge worker churn was viewed through the lens of expectancy theory and a conceptual framework was developed. Expectancy theory focuses on an individual’s belief that they can obtain desired outcomes if they exert certain effort. Knowledge workers want to be challenged by competent raters. A thematic analysis of the evidence revealed important themes for management practice: identify and segment knowledge workers, ensure a positive perception of the appraisal system via ‘voice’ inclusion, and deploy competent job evaluators for accurate performance evaluation. This is the first known systematic review of the literature which focuses on the competence of the appraiser as an important influence on knowledge workers’ reaction to appraisal outcome and how this impacts intention to quit.

Authors: John Onyeaku


Cite as: Onyeaku, J. (2020). How can organizations effectively use performance appraisal systems and competent evaluator to retain knowledge workers? A systematic review of the literature. Muma Business Review 4(17). 157-168.