Definition 1: Systematic Evaluation
“It is a systematic evaluation of an individual with respect to performance on the job and individual’s potential for development.”
Definition 2: Formal System, Reasons and Measures of future performance “It is formal, structured system of measuring, evaluating job related behaviors and outcomes to discover reasons of performance and how to perform effectively in future so that employee, organization and society all benefits.”
Meaning of Performance Appraisals
Performance Appraisals is the assessment of individual’s performance in a systematic way. It is a developmental tool used for all round development of the employee and the organization. The performance is measured against such factors as job knowledge, quality and quantity of output, initiative, leadership abilities, supervision, dependability, co-operation, judgment, versatility and health. Assessment should be confined to past as well as potential performance also. The second definition is more focused on behaviors as a part of assessment because behaviors do affect job results.
Performance Appraisals and Job Analysis Relationship
|Job Analysis à |Performance Standards à |Performance Appraisals | |Describe the work and personnel requirement|Translate job requirements into levels of |Describe the job relevant strengths and | |of a particular job. |acceptable or unacceptable performance |weaknesses of each individual. |
Objectives of Performance Appraisals
Use of Performance Appraisals
3. Training and Development
4. Compensation reviews
5. Competency building
6. Improve communication
7. Evaluation of HR Programs
8. Feedback & Grievances
4 Goals of Performance Appraisals
|General Goals |Specific Goals | |Developmental Use |Individual needs | | |Performance feedback | | |Transfers and Placements | | |Strengths and Development needs | |Administrative Decisions / Uses |Salary | | |Promotion | | |Retention / Termination | | |Recognition | | |Lay offs | | |Poor Performers identification | |Organizational Maintenance |HR Planning | | |Training Needs | | |Organizational Goal achievements | | |Goal Identification | | |HR Systems Evaluation | | |Reinforcement of organizational needs | |Documentation |Validation Research | | |For HR Decisions | | |Legal Requirements |
Performance Appraisal Process
1. Objectives definition of appraisal
2. Job expectations establishment
3. Design an appraisal program
4. Appraise the performance
5. Performance Interviews
6. Use data for appropriate purposes
7. Identify opportunities variables
8. Using social processes, physical processes, human and computer assistance
Difference between Traditional and Modern (Systems) approach to Appraisals
|Categories |Traditional Appraisals |Modern, Systems Appraisals | |Guiding Values |Individualistic, Control oriented, |Systematic, Developmental, Problem solving | | |Documentary | | |Leadership Styles |Directional, Evaluative |Facilitative, Coaching | |Frequency |Occasional |Frequent | |Formalities |High |Low | |Rewards |Individualistic |Grouped, Organizational |
TECHNIQUES / METHODS OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS
Numerous methods have been devised to measure the quantity and quality of performance appraisals. Each of the methods is effective for some purposes for some organizations only. None should be dismissed or accepted as appropriate except as they relate to the particular needs of the organization or an employee. Broadly all methods of appraisals can be divided into two different categories. · Past Oriented Methods
· Future Oriented Methods
Past Oriented Methods
1. Rating Scales: Rating scales consists of several numerical scales representing job related performance criterions such as dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc. Each scales ranges from excellent to poor. The total numerical scores are computed and final conclusions are derived. Advantages – Adaptability, easy to use, low cost, every type of job can be evaluated, large number of employees covered, no formal training required. Disadvantages – Rater’s biases 2. Checklist: Under this method, checklist of statements of traits of employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or checking and HR department does the actual evaluation. Advantages – economy, ease of administration, limited training required, standardization. Disadvantages – Raters biases, use of improper weighs by HR, does not allow rater to give relative ratings 3. Forced Choice Method: The series of statements arranged in the blocks of two or more are given and the rater indicates which statement is true or false.
The rater is forced to make a choice. HR department does actual assessment. Advantages – Absence of personal biases because of forced choice. Disadvantages – Statements may be wrongly framed. 4. Forced Distribution Method: here employees are clustered around a high point on a rating scale. Rater is compelled to distribute the employees on all points on the scale. It is assumed that the performance is conformed to normal distribution. Advantages – Eliminates Disadvantages – Assumption of normal distribution, unrealistic, errors of central tendency. 5. Critical Incidents Method: The approach is focused on certain critical behaviors of employee that makes all the difference in the performance. Supervisors as and when they occur record such incidents. Advantages – Evaluations are based on actual job behaviors, ratings are supported by descriptions, feedback is easy, reduces recency biases, chances of subordinate improvement are high. Disadvantages – Negative incidents can be prioritized, forgetting incidents, overly close supervision; feedback may be too much and may appear to be punishment.
6. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales: statements of effective and ineffective behaviors determine the points. They are said to be behaviorally anchored. The rater is supposed to say, which behavior describes the employee performance. Advantages – helps overcome rating errors. Disadvantages – Suffers from distortions inherent in most rating techniques. 7. Field Review Method: This is an appraisal done by someone outside employees’ own department usually from corporate or HR department. Advantages – Useful for managerial level promotions, when comparable information is needed, Disadvantages – Outsider is generally not familiar with employees work environment, Observation of actual behaviors not possible. 8. Performance Tests & Observations: This is based on the test of knowledge or skills. The tests may be written or an actual presentation of skills. Tests must be reliable and validated to be useful. Advantage – Tests may be apt to measure potential more than actual performance.
Disadvantages – Tests may suffer if costs of test development or administration are high. 9. Confidential Records: Mostly used by government departments, however its application in industry is not ruled out. Here the report is given in the form of Annual Confidentiality Report (ACR) and may record ratings with respect to following items; attendance, self expression, team work, leadership, initiative, technical ability, reasoning ability, originality and resourcefulness etc. The system is highly secretive and confidential. Feedback to the assessee is given only in case of an adverse entry. Disadvantage is that it is highly subjective and ratings can be manipulated because the evaluations are linked to HR actions like promotions etc. 10. Essay Method: In this method the rater writes down the employee description in detail within a number of broad categories like, overall impression of performance, promoteability of employee, existing capabilities and qualifications of performing jobs, strengths and weaknesses and training needs of the employee. Advantage – It is extremely useful in filing information gaps about the employees that often occur in a better structured checklist.
Disadvantages – It its highly dependent upon the writing skills of rater and most of them are not good writers. They may get confused success depends on the memory power of raters. 11. Cost Accounting Method: Here performance is evaluated from the monetary returns yields to his or her organization. Cost to keep employee, and benefit the organization derives is ascertained. Hence it is more dependent upon cost and benefit analysis. 12. Comparative Evaluation Method (Ranking & Paired Comparisons): These are collection of different methods that compare performance with that of other co-workers. The usual techniques used may be ranking methods and paired comparison method. · Ranking Methods: Superior ranks his worker based on merit, from best to worst. However how best and why best are not elaborated in this method. It is easy to administer and explanation. · Paired Comparison Methods: In this method each employee is rated with another employee in the form of pairs. The number of comparisons may be calculated with the help of a formula as under. N x (N-1) / 2
Future Oriented Methods
1. Management By Objectives: It means management by objectives and the performance is rated against the achievement of objectives stated by the management. MBO process goes as under. · Establish goals and desired outcomes for each subordinate · Setting performance standards
· Comparison of actual goals with goals attained by the employee · Establish new goals and new strategies for goals not achieved in previous year. Advantage – It is more useful for managerial positions.
Disadvantages – Not applicable to all jobs, allocation of merit pay may result in setting short-term goals rather than important and long-term goals etc. 2. Psychological Appraisals: These appraisals are more directed to assess employees potential for future performance rather than the past one. It is done in the form of in-depth interviews, psychological tests, and discussion with supervisors and review of other evaluations. It is more focused on employees emotional, intellectual, and motivational and other personal characteristics affecting his performance. This approach is slow and costly and may be useful for bright young members who may have considerable potential. However quality of these appraisals largely depend upon the skills of psychologists who perform the evaluation. 3. Assessment Centers: This technique was first developed in USA and UK in 1943. An assessment center is a central location where managers may come together to have their participation in job related exercises evaluated by trained observers.
It is more focused on observation of behaviors across a series of select exercises or work samples. Assessees are requested to participate in in-basket exercises, work groups, computer simulations, role playing and other similar activities which require same attributes for successful performance in actual job. The characteristics assessed in assessment center can be assertiveness, persuasive ability, communicating ability, planning and organizational ability, self confidence, resistance to stress, energy level, decision making, sensitivity to feelings, administrative ability, creativity and mental alertness etc. Disadvantages – Costs of employees traveling and lodging, psychologists, ratings strongly influenced by assessee’s inter-personal skills. Solid performers may feel suffocated in simulated situations. Those who are not selected for this also may get affected.
Advantages – well-conducted assessment center can achieve better forecasts of future performance and progress than other methods of appraisals. Also reliability, content validity and predictive ability are said to be high in assessment centers. The tests also make sure that the wrong people are not hired or promoted. Finally it clearly defines the criteria for selection and promotion. 4. 360-Degree Feedback: It is a technique which is systematic collection of performance data on an individual group, derived from a number of stakeholders like immediate supervisors, team members, customers, peers and self. In fact anyone who has useful information on how an employee does a job may be one of the appraisers. This technique is highly useful in terms of broader perspective, greater self-development and multi-source feedback is useful. 360-degree appraisals are useful to measure inter-personal skills, customer satisfaction and team building skills. However on the negative side, receiving feedback from multiple sources can be intimidating, threatening etc. Multiple raters may be less adept at providing balanced and objective feedback.
Ethics of Performance Appraisals / Legally defensible Performance Appraisals
Ethics of Procedures
1. Formal Standardized Performance Appraisal Systems
2. Uniform to all employees, no illegal differentiations based on cast, religion etc.
3. Standards formally communicated to all employees
4. Freedom to review performance appraisal results
5. Formal appeal process about ratings and judgments
6. Written instructions and training to raters
7. All personal decision makers should be aware of anti-discrimination laws.
Ethics of Contents
1. Content based on job analysis
2. Traits based appraisals should be avoided
3. Objectively verifiable data should be used
4. Constraints on performance beyond control should be prevented
5. Specific job related dimensions to be used rather than single or global dimensions.
6. Dimensions must be assigned weight to reflect relative importance in performance score
Ethics of Documentation of Results
1. A thoroughly written record of evidence leading to termination should be maintained
2. Written documentation of extreme ratings should be maintained
3. Documentation should be consistent among the raters.
Ethics of Raters
1. The raters should be trained in how to use an appraisal system
2. The rater must have opportunity to observe ratees first hand and review important ratee performance products.
3. Use of more than one rater is desirable to reduce biases.
Organizational Support Factors for Performance Appraisal Systems
Performance appraisal serves many organizational objectives and goals. Besides encouraging high level of performance, the evaluation system is useful in identifying employees with potential, rewarding them equitably, and determining employee needs for development. All these activities are instrumental in achieving corporate plans and long-term growth, typical appraisal system in most organizations have been focused on short-term goals only. From the strategic management point of views, organizations can be grouped under 3 different categories as defenders, prospectors and analyzers.
Defenders: They have narrow and stable product market domain. They don’t need to make any adjustment in technology, structure or methods of operations etc. They devote entire attention on improving existing operations. Because of emphasis on skill building successful defenders use appraisals as means for identifying training needs. It is more behavior oriented.
Prospectors: They continuously search for new products and opportunities. They experiment regularly to new and emerging trends. They more focus on skills identification and acquisition of human resources from external sources prospectors often use appraisals for identifying staffing needs. The focus is on results.
Analyzers: They operate in two type of product domain markets. One is stable and other is changing. They watch their competitors closely and rapidly adopt the ideas that are promising. They use cost effective technologies for stable products and matrix technologies for new products. Analyzers tend to emphasize on skills building and skills acquisitions and employ extensive training programs. Hence they use appraisal more for training and staffing purposes. However performance appraisal systems has strategic importance in three different ways.
Feedback Mechanism: Performance evaluation is the central mechanism that not only provides feedback to individuals but also aids in the assessment of the progress of organization as a whole. Without appraisals managers of any firm can only guess as to whether or not employees are working towards realization of the organization goals.
Consistency between strategy and job behavior: Performance appraisal not only is a means of knowing if the employee behavior is consistent with the overall strategies focus but also a way of bringing to the fore any negative consequence of the strategy – behavior fit. Thus the performance appraisal system is an important mechanism to elicit feedback on the consistency of the strategy – behavior link.
Consistency between Values and Job Behavior link: Performance evaluation is a mechanism to reinforce values and culture of the organization. Another importance is to align appraisal with organizational culture. Thus the purpose of performance evaluation is to make sure that employee’s goals, employees behavior and feedback of information about performance are all linked to the corporate strategy.
Essentials of a Good Performance Appraisal System:
1. Standardized Performance Appraisal System
2. Uniformity of appraisals
3. Defined performance standards
4. Trained Raters
5. Use of relevant rating tools or methods
6. Should be based on job analysis
7. Use of objectively verifiable data
8. Avoid rating problems like halo effect, central tendency, leniency, severity etc.
9. Consistent Documentations maintained
10. No room for discrimination based on cast, creed, race, religion, region etc.
Problems of Rating:
1. Leniency & Severity
2. Central Tendency
3. Halo Error
4. Rater Effect
5. Primacy & Recency Effect
6. Perceptual Sets
7. Performance Dimensions Order
8. Spillover Effects
9. Status Effect