Performance Appraisals Essay, Research Paper
We have researched performance appraisals by reviewing literature on the subject
and by interviewing an individual who is responsible for giving performance appraisals
as a part of her job. We found several similarities between the two and a few differences,
all of which is discussed in the following analysis.
The most obvious purpose of a performance appraisal system is as a decision aid. Performance appraisals provide a basis for deciding who should be promoted, terminated, given a raise, and so forth. It is an important part of consideration in making a wide range of personnel decisions in most organizations, and it benefits both the organization and the individual.
It gives the employee the opportunity to discuss performance and performance standards regularly with the supervisor. It provides the supervisor with a means of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of an employees performance, and it provides a format so he/she can recommend a specific program designed to help an employee improve their performance. Also, it can provide a basis for salary recommendations so that employees can make justified earnings.
Environmental issues are all the surrounding factors that come into play when doing a performance appraisal. These issues have to be considered in performance appraisals because they can contaminate the interview in negative ways. Different variables such as standards used to evaluate performance, the definition of what constitutes performance, frequency of appraisals, supervisor-subordinate relationships, and the consequences of high or low evaluations. All these factors thrown together can influence the appraisal interview in different directions. For examples, if you are good friends with your boss and he/she gives you the P.A. interview, the chances are you will get a positive review regardless if your performance is poor. Or perhaps one employee has better resources and higher output than yourself, and as a result gets a better performance review. Other appraisal failures come from managers not taking the appraisal seriously, or they lack the skills needed. Sometimes managers do not tell the truth during the evaluation to spare feelings, or they are not prepared to do the interview. These environmental affects have to be considered so it is not unfair and biased to employees.
There is no definite process or solution to make all performance appraisals fair and accurate. But if done correctly, the ratee will be able to identify his/her weaknesses and turn them into strengths which will lead to better performances, which will ultimately lead to better earnings for the organization having a chain reaction on up the line.
In recent years there have been many legal issues that have been brought up regarding performance appraisals. In recent years, there have been over five hundred published judicial and arbitration decisions that involved performance appraisals. This is important for any human resource manager because at one time or another, they will be forced to deal with this issue on a first hand basis. There are many court cases that discuss important topics concerning performance appraisals that have been used as case studies today.
To perform a legally sound performance appraisal, managers should follow these guidelines (Smither 83):
? Should be standardized and uniform for all employees within a job group
? Should be formally communicated to employees
? Should provide notice of performance deficiencies and of opportunities to correct them
? Should provide access for employees to review appraisal results
? Should provide formal appeal mechanisms that allow for employee input
? Should use multiple, diverse, and unbiased raters
? Should provide written instructions and training for raters
? Should establish a system to detect potentially discriminatory effects or abuses of the system overall
It is important for organizations today to guard themselves against employees that decide to take legal action based on performance appraisals. That is because there have been a countless number of people that have sued their former employee because they feel that they have not receive a performance appraisal prior to their discharge. However, there are many ways that employers can protect themselves against this kind of action. Some examples are to explain to new employees that their employment is at will, that is the employer reserves the right to discharge the employee at any time for any reason with or without cause and with or without notice. Another example is to say that nothing in the employer?s policies, practices, or procedures including performance appraisals, should be interpreted as giving any right upon the employee to continued employment. Finally, an employer should state that they are under no obligation to appraise performance.
In order for performance appraisal to be accurate, it is important that the people execute these appraisals to be formally trained. It would be the organizations best interest and the for the overall development of the employees for employee appraisals to be as accurate as possible and provide honest feedback.
There are essentially three elements effective rater training programs should include: explanations of the performance dimensions, opportunities for trainees to practice ratings, and feedback to the trainees concerning the practice ratings.
The first dimension of training raters is through performance dimension rating or PDT. In this stage raters learn to understand the goals and objectives of the firm in order to effectively rate each employee based on these. It is important that appraisals are based relatively to the objectives of the company because it will provide more accurate information on job performance.
The other two elements of an effective training program, the opportunity for trainees to practice doing ratings and the feedback to the trainees on how they are doing, can often be put together in one step. Practice and feedback are vital to training of performance raters because it gives them the opportunity to learn through active participation and discussion. Also, by allowing trainees to make practice ratings, they can adjust their standards and previous rating techniques to the organizations.
Branch Manager, Derby
Is Performance Appraisal subdivided into phases individually or is it an ongoing process where one phase determines the next?
At Commerce, performance management is an ongoing process with each phase relating to the next. The supervisor and the employee share responsibilities during the phases. The process starts with planning, then there is feedback, and then there is formal performance appraisal. After these steps are completed the process begins again with planning.
Explain each phase of the process.
In the planning stage of the process the supervisor and the employee determine the expectations and objectives for the review period. Next, the feedback is generally given by the supervisor on a frequent basis and this feedback should assess the employee?s performance. This feedback should also reestablish the objectives set in the plan and if needed establish new objectives. The final phase of the process is the performance appraisal where the supervisor meets with the employee and rates their performance. During the appraisal the supervisor will also discuss accomplishments and incomplete assignments during the period that appraisal is over and discuss areas that need improvement. The process starts over with the planning period.
What are the responsibilities of the employee?
The employee can be proactive throughout the evaluation period. They can work to achieve each goal that was set in the plan and strive to receive a great evaluation by following the plan. The employee should keep the supervisor informed as to the status of their work that is or had been accomplished. Also the employee can ask for feedback and respond positively to constructive feedback. It is also very important for the employee to develop positive relationships with the customers as well as co-workers. It is also important for the employee to constantly be assessing themselves in their performance.
What are the responsibilities of the supervisor?
It is the supervisor?s responsibility to help develop the plan for the employee during the year. A meeting should be scheduled to sit down with an employee and devise a plan. The supervisor should periodically check with the employee on how they are doing and where they are at with the goals that they had set earlier in the review period. The supervisor does not necessarily have major responsibilities during the review year; it is up to the employee to succeed at the plan developed with the supervisor.
What is the Performance Appraisal and Plan? (Appendix A and B)
The Performance Appraisal and Plan consists of five parts. Part 1 measures an employee?s performance on pre-set goals. Part 2 evaluates an employee on key performance factors. Part 3 is where the employees overall performance is determined and rated. Part 4 establishes a plan for the next review period. Part 5 is an interim progress review where the employee receives generally a 6-month review.
Explain the key performance factors just discussed in the Performance Appraisal and Plan.
Key Performance factors are expectations that apply to all jobs regardless to the duties that are involved. The supervisor is to designate the most important of those factors as critical factors depending on past appraisals and performance. These critical factors are the employee?s main focus. For non-exempt jobs, a few examples of key performance factors would be communication, competence, compliance, dependability, development, initiative, productivity, and quality. For exempt jobs, key performance examples would be dependability, corporate citizenship, leadership, results-management, and judgement and decision-making.
Explain how the Performance Appraisal and plan is rated.
An employees Performance Appraisal and plan is rated by the supervisor. Part 1 and Part 2 are rated as exceeds, meets, or does not meet expectations. Part 3 is more flexible in order to recognize different levels of performance, plus and minus signs can be used to better define the performance. Exceeds expectations will be given when an employee does an outstanding job on requirements and job expectations. Performance must be clearly exceptional to a supervisor in order for an employee to receive a rating of exceeds expectations. A meets expectation is given when performance is clearly competent. Goals are met on a regular basis and position requirements result in success. Does not meet expectations is given when an employee does not meet position requirements on a regular basis. Goals and objectives are randomly met and assignments are not completed in a satisfactory procedure. The employee?s performance needs improvement.
How often is an employee reviewed?
An employee is reviewed at least annually and every six months if necessary. The supervisor will decide if more than an annual review needs to be done. Salary adjustments are based on annual reviews and salary compensation is determined by corporate guidelines. Commerce uses a common review approach to ensure fairness to similar jobs and salary requirements. Management reviews an employee on a specific date and then approves salary adjustments supported by the performance appraisal and plan documentation. Salary adjustments are effective on the day that the review is given.
When we began to compare Commerce Bank?s system of performance appraisals
to the standard, we found the standards have been met in most cases. In the following
paragraphs, we have listed some of the guidelines that Commerce Bank follows when
giving performance appraisals.
Performance evaluations are standardized and uniform for all employees at
Commerce Bank. Every employee is given an annual performance appraisal. However,
an employee may be given two in a year if necessary. Therefore, performance appraisals
at Commerce Bank are standard and uniform for all employees.
Next, the appraisal process is formally communicated to employees. One step
Commerce Bank has in its process consists of meeting with the employee to discuss
assignments that need to be completed and objectives that need to be met. This also
serves as a time for employees to review appraisal results. During this time employees
are given notice as to performance deficiencies, after which there is an opportunity given
to correct them.
The raters used at Commerce Bank are in fact multiple, diverse, and unbiased.
There is equal spread between the three raters in such a way that every employee has an
equal opportunity to achieve the rating he or she desires. Since expectations and goals
are discussed with every employee prior to the performance appraisal, each employee is
given the opportunity to do what is necessary to meet the expectations.
Finally, Commerce Bank does use performance appraisals to improve
performance among its employees. By identifying his or her weaknesses and working to
strengthen them, this helps to make their employees more knowledgeable about the job
Though there are many guidelines that Commerce Bank does follow, there are a
few that may need further development. First, Commerce Bank does not have a set
system to detect discriminatory factors or abuses of the system. In this day and age,
companies are seeing an increased number of discrimination lawsuits filed by former
employees. Therefore, it is the company?s obligation to take every possible step to avoid
Another guideline that needs to be reviewed is preventing contamination.
The employee?s supervisor performs performance appraisals at Commerce Bank
at the branch level. This means that the only person to give an employee an appraisal is
someone whom they may have came to know on a personal level. If the bank is a fairly
small branch, there needs to be an emphasis on supervisor-subordinate relationships. If
the employee works closely with his or her supervisor on a day to day basis, a second
person may be needed to review the appraisal.
Now that we have compared the practices of Commerce Bank to the literature we
gathered, we can make recommendations for further action. Preventing discriminatory
practices play an important role in performing performance appraisals. Commerce Bank
needs to develop a team of specialists to carefully review their appraisal process to
protect themselves against possible lawsuits. It would be beneficial to provide thorough
and updated training sessions to all supervisors.
Another recommendation would be for Commerce Bank to develop a way to have
occasional checks or audits on the supervisors that perform the appraisals. One
suggestion is to send supervisors out to other branches to observe employees they do not
normally work with on a day to day basis. This would enable the company to have
outside input on a performance appraisal if the employee ever questions their immediate
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Philip Tom. Appraising Performance for Results. London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1996.
Scotto, Dolores. ?Performance Appraisals: More Than Just Going Through the
Motions.? Medical Laboratory Observer. August 2000, p. 14.
Smither, James W. Performance Appraisal: State of the in Practice. San Francisco: Josey Bass Publishers, 1998.