Performance appraisal is one of the stages in the employee performance management process. It is not the most important part of performance management. But it is a necessary part of performance management.
This must identify who among your people had shown outstanding performance.
Some view it as a measure of organizational effectiveness. But this depends to a large extent on the standard of performance by employees.
Appraising people is a challenging responsibility. It can cause problems if it is not done properly. When badly done, it has the propensity of de-motivating people.Performance evaluation that fails to reward good performance is bound to fail.
What is Performance Appraisal?
Some people, including those at the higher level of management, mistake performance appraisal as performance management. They get stuck there and often do not realize it until it is almost too late.
Performance evaluation is that part of the process in performance management where each employee's performance on the job is evaluated whether they had carried out their duties and responsibilities to the expectation of management and informing employees on their performance.
This is done after a certain period of time usually after a year on the job. Some organizations conduct performance assessment twice a year at six months intervals.
Purposes of Conducting Performance Assessment
Your management needs to know how well employees had performed their job for the past twelve months.
The information is required by managers and supervisors to:
The results need to show the level of quality of your people. You then can use this information to change your plans.
Ensuring Effectiveness of Performance Review
Effective performance appraisal requires that you do certain things.
It is necessary to involve employees in performance planning. Ensure that this is done when you prepare your human resource plan.
Performance Planning Process
Value of Employees' Knowledge and Ideas
Pay attention to what your people say. They are the best people in knowing about their jobs.
When you pay attention to what they say and accept their good ideas, you encourage them to make valuable suggestions for improvement. Test the feasibility of their ideas.
It is not easy to treat employees as if they are your equals. Even if you accept them as the persons that they are, you will not lose your authority.
In fact, your employees will become more enthusiastic and motivated. They will feel a sense of responsibility.
Ask them about their goals in their career and in life. Encourage self-evaluation.
Follow through on your commitment to your people. They will notice that you are sincere and serious about improving performance.
Performance Appraisal Requires Setting Clear Goals
To ensure the efficacy of your performance evaluation, clearly tell your employees:
Performance Standards and Measures
Once the goals are agreed upon, discuss the standards and performance measures for each of the goals set.
The standards are normally the industry standards.
Some refer to performance measures as "key performance indicators or KPI."
Key performance indicators are intended to make people focus on doing the right things. This is more than doing things right.
It is not necessary to measure everything. Use key performance indicators to measure only the critical factors that contribute to positive organizational outcomes.
In human resource management, ensure that performance measures for HR activities are linked to the achievement of organizational objectives. This is done under your HR strategic plan.
The goals or targets must satisfy certain conditions based on the S.M.A.R.T. principles, namely:
Sometimes some people refer to "Time-bound" as "timeliness".
The standards must 'stretch' people in their effort to achieve the targets.
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Performance Appraisal Interview
Are you using computer programs in performance appraisal?
There is nothing wrong with this provided the programs that you are using had been customized to the Human Resources needs of your organization.
Conducting a performance assessment interview is an effective interactive method.
Encourage dialogue. Keep inviting the employee to talk. Do not lecture.
It is unfortunate that there are not many executives who are ready to have a face to face performance evaluation interview. They would rather prefer to sit alone and make use of technology to do it.
But there are limitations to technology. Most often it does not improve the quality of your judgment or thinking.
With this method, interaction with your people is virtually nil.
A face to face meeting is an effective way of communication with your subordinates.
Other Types of Performance Assessment Methods
Apart from using automation, the use of assessment forms is very common.
Sometimes the same rating forms are used organization-wide. The rating items become general and do not explain how employees had performed. Thus, they will not know how to improve their performance.
Some organizations conduct group assessment.
Always discuss with the employee how he or she had performed.
Only then, come to an agreement on the rating for each item of assessment. Based on the fact that ratings have limitations and the possible reasons for the standard of performance, negotiate the ratings with the employee.
Some experts argue that we cannot add up the ratings since this leads to unfairness and inaccuracy.
Feedback on Performance
Give feedback to employees during the performance appraisal interview on their performance for the past twelve months.
But do not forget to give continuous feedback throughout the year. This motivates them and give them the opportunity to make timely improvement before the performance appraisal interview.
Documentation of Performance
Do not get obsessive with forms. Click here for an explanation on Performance Assessment Form.
Keep records of important performance-related discussions and performance events during the year.
This can form the basis for decision making and as an aid to memory. It also provides protection against allegations of discrimination.
Sign all formal documentation and obtain the employee's signature. Allow the employee to make fair comments before signing.
Make summaries of the discussions, recording only the essentials. If there is a possibility of taking disciplinary action, make more detailed documentation.
Use of Performance Appraisal Results
The results are usually used for the following purposes:
Who can Evaluate Who?
Weaknesses in Performance Appraisal
Select the system that fits well into your organization.
Other methods such as using assessment centers is more suitable for identifying employees for promotion and workplace surveillance is controversial in nature.
Performance Appraisal Cycle
The cycle commences from identifying the goals and proceeds to performance appraisal that is tied to rewards system.
The results of the performance review discussion are used to review the goals.
Performance evaluation is a dynamic process. But remember that managing performance is more important than performance appraisal.
Your managers and supervisors need to communicate the performance appraisal results once they had evaluated the performance of their subordinates based on the agreed goals and performance measures.
The matter does not end there. They need to discuss with their subordinates and agree on a plan for further performance improvement.
And the cycle starts anew after a review of the goals and performance measures.
Acceptance of Performance Appraisal
In some countries, and especially in the public sector and institutions of higher learning, performance evaluation is not accepted as bringing much benefit.
Many academics believe that performance assessment curtail their freedom.
In some unionized organizations, performance appraisal is seen as manipulative, compelling employees to increase productivity.
Even if this is so, your organization needs some kind of method in assessing employees' performance. And that is performing performance appraisal.