Performance Appraisal as an Important Function of Management

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Introduction

Performance appraisal is an important function of management, not only in determining the level of performance but also in enhancing formal interaction between the employees and their direct supervisors; indeed, it is during this time that employees’ strengths and weaknesses are cited and goals assessed or set. Basically, performance appraisal is a two-way discussion where strengths and weaknesses are considered within the context of organizational goals that are set jointly at the start of the year’s performance cycle that form the basis of discussion. In addition, the appraisal is constructive, distinct from talk about compensation and a no-surprise evaluation that reflects a series of discussions or mini-reviews conducted throughout the year. In fact, the main purpose of a performance appraisal system is to assist the supervisors in making decisions concerning the employees and provides one source for deciding who should be promoted, terminated, and given a raise among other decisions.

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There are two ways in which performance appraisals can be related to administrative decisions, call-lead and call-lag relationships. In the call-lead relationships, decisions are made on the basis of evaluations of performance, for instance, a worker might receive a large salary increase because he or she is consistently rated as the best performer. Here, positive appraisals are the cause of subsequent administrative decisions. In call-lag relationships, performance appraisals are filled out to justify the decisions that have already been made or to make it easier to implement a course of action already decided upon, for instance, a supervisor who decides to fire a subordinate might have to provide one or more poor performance reviews to justify the decision. This paper will analyze the performance appraisal form used at the University of California, Berkeley (2010).

The key characteristics of the appraisal process

  • The performance appraisal form has a five-point rating scale, which can be used for overall rating, employee goals, core competencies, and supervisor/ leadership responsibilities. This helps understand where each and every employee lies in terms of performance. The scale also helps in bringing out the goals of the employees and how they can be implemented so as to help the worker to be more productive in his or her work. The core competencies of the employee are revealed in the appraisal using the scale. When the appraisal is for the supervisors or leaders, the leadership responsibilities are discussed and the leader is rated using this scale.
  • There is a presentation of the overall rating as the first rating viewed on the form. This is a thorough description of the rating scale that includes a specific description of each of the five performance levels. This provides the fine details of the rate and helps in describing the employee fully.
  • There is the use of letters for the rating scale terms for ratings (O [Outstanding], ME [Meets Expectations]). This helps in simplifying the work of rating.
  • A section on Employee Goals, with space to include the goals, status, or accomplishments and a rating on each; six core competencies and three Supervisory/ Leadership responsibilities for evaluation.
  • Employees are rated on specific items under each competency and not the overall competency. All employees are ratted on the same competencies.
  • There is a space for supervisor comments that are overall. The comments are necessary for the highest and lowest ends of the rating scale (Swan and Wilson, 2006, p. 62).

The key points in the appraisal

Technical skills

This involves rating the employee based on how effective he/she applies skills and competence in the job. All the problems that are associated with the kind of job that the employee is doing are analyzed, as well as providing suggestions on how the work and the output of the worker can be improved. In addition, this section analyzes employee’s job competence and compliance to safety procedures.

Quality of work

This is the point at which the manner in which the worker completes job assignment is assessed. The accuracy of the worker when doing the job is analyzed depending on the results that the worker gives after every assignment. Analysis of the thoroughness and neatness of the worker are assessed, more so in relation to accuracy and quality of the work, as well as the reliability of the worker on regular basis. Indeed, how reliable the worker is when requested to offer a service is mainly determined by the response he or she gives upon request. This helps in determining the reactions of the employee when executing a certain task. At this point, the leader evaluates whether the employee is able to follow-up the task after completion or not. Moreover, the supervisor is able to assess the ability of the worker in decision making and how he makes sound judgments.

Interpersonal skills

At this point, the effectiveness of the employee’s interactions with others and as a team participant is analyzed, more so in terms of how the employee relates with other employees and supervisors. Basically, there are some questions that need to be considered here including; does the employee take part in team playing or team building? Is the worker involved in team contributions? Indeed, the commitment of the worker to the success of the team is assessed at this point.

Communication skills

This is the assessment of the effectiveness of the language used, be it written or spoken, and how it affects the job and the co-workers. In addition, the expressions used when writing documents are analyzed and the worker is rated in relation to the rate of grammatical errors and the flow of words. When it comes to speaking, the oral expressions are analyzed based on questions such as; does the worker use abusive language or is the language used fit for the other employees and supervisors? Is the worker willing to share information with the other workers or the supervisors? Moreover, the worker is assessed on the basis of freeness when disseminating information, as well as how tactical and diplomatic the worker is when addressing issues.

Approach to work

This point involves analyzing the characteristics exhibited by the employee in the process doing work, for instance, assessment of how well or effectively the employee may handle the processes. Other aspects of the worker that are considered include the rigidity or openness to new ideas and approaches to the job, how initiative the worker is, and ability of the worker to plan and organize the work in a way that everyone can understand. In addition, there is consideration for flexibility and adaptability of the employee, as well as the ability and willingness of the worker to follow instructions, ability of the worker to challenge the status quo processes in appropriate ways, investigation on whether the worker is able to seek additional training and development skills and analysis of attendance and punctuality of the employee.

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Quantity of work

This is the assessment of whether the employee is successful in producing the required amount of work. The ability of the worker to set priorities in the different tasks according to urgency is assessed at this point, as well as the amount of work completed at a certain time as per the schedule.

Performance measurement system used

Unacceptable

The performance of work is inadequate and inferior to the standards of performance required for the specific position. The performance at this level is basically not applicable to the company, thus it has to be resisted at all costs. The mistakes done by the employees are so many and the job delivered is far much below the standard. This leads to the termination of the employee.

Improvement needed

At this juncture, the performance does not consistently meet the expectations and the principles of performance for the position. The job delivered by the worker is slightly below the expectations. However, the worker is not terminated but there is great need for him to improve the performance.

Meets expectations

Here, the measure shows that all employees tend to have work performance level that constantly meets the established performance standards for the position, and are always competitive enough to retain their positions.

Exceeds expectations

Here, performance is constantly above the standard performance for the position, and the workers are highly recommended by the employers and there is high return for the company.

Outstanding

This is the best level that a worker can attain in any given company, more so because it denotes a work performance that always supercedes the established standards; indeed, at this level, the worker is promoted and the salary increased.

Merits and demerits

The appraisal helps the company to know who performs well and who is not. This assists the managers to decide on who to increase the salary or not, who to promote, who to motivates as well as who to terminate. The performance appraisal also assists the employee to understand about the work parts where he is failing and is required to work on the following year. The employee also comes to realize the various expectations that the company want him to meet. It also helps the managers to understand the skills that various employees may be having as well as the interests that are resourceful for other jobs in the company. When this is the case, the worker may be shifted to new areas of work and this will help the worker as well as the company.

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On the other hand, performance appraisal can be influenced by the office politics. This model may result to manager reporting on the basis of the employee’s likes and dislikes when the evaluation is based on the worker’s actual behaviour. This model may not bring out the real character of the employees because if they realize that it is the one to be used assess him for promotion or salary rise, the employee may not bring out his or her weaknesses. Also the manager may find it difficult to judge the subordinate since they are working together throughout.

Impact of performance appraisal

When the performance of the worker is found to be outstanding, the worker may be promoted or the salary increased. This is a positive effect of conducting the performance appraisal to the worker. To the company, it means parting with more money. When the performance of the worker is found to be unacceptable the worker looses the job since he is replaced by another worker who can perform better.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to provide suggestions for improvements. In this model, there is a lot of fear that is impacted on the worker when he is investigated by his supervisor fearing that if his weaknesses are known, the he might loose the job. The best thing to do is to involved external people to conduct the performance appraisal. Here the worker is free and can freely give information. When making judgments, the supervisors should not base the judgments on the actual behaviour of the employees and they should not be political or biased. They should base their decisions on the productivity of the employee. The managers should take care of the emotional pain that the employee might undergo incase of anything. The employers need to set the standard by shaping a work site that have honesty and creates a safe harbor for practicing it (Armstrong and Appelbaum, 2003, p. 18).

References

Armstrong, S. and Appelbaum, M. (2003). Stress-Free Performance Appraisals: Turn Your Most Painful Management Duty into a Powerful Motivational Tool.

NJ, Career Press. n.d. Web.

Swan, W. S. and Wilson, L. E. (2006). Ready-to-use performance appraisals: downloadable, customizable tools for better, faster reviews! New Jersey, John Wiley and Sons. Web.

University of California, Berkeley. (2010). Performance evaluation forms and resources. Web.

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