It is generally considered (again, by most organizations) that it is employee accomplishments and contributions that drive the business results of an organization, so a regular feedback system discussing individual performance is at the core of a good performance management system. It helps to ensure that employees are on course for the completion of tasks and goals that are aligned with the organization’s goals and that the resources and support are provided for the employee to perform such functions. Employee performance management systems should include the following:
***Delegating and planning work;
***Setting expectations for performance results;
***Continually monitoring performance;
***Developing a capacity to perform to new levels for personal and professional growth;
***Periodically rating performance in a summary fashion;
***Providing recognition and rewarding good performance.
Creating and communicating the organization’s vision, mission, strategies, specific goals and values form the foundation that is needed for the performance management system. Then performance standards are agreed upon by both the management and the employee on what the job requires and what will be measured. At this stage, it is essential that employees clearly (repeat, clearly) understand the standards, including expected behavior standards set forth for their jobs. Feedback is the next stage and can be either informal or formal. Here is where there is some difference. My recommendation is to always have formal feedback, which would entail a written performance appraisal….
Employees need to know and understand what specific performance is expected of them in performing their jobs and the acceptable behavior for that job. This communication begins with the very first discussion in a job interview and certainly with the job offer and new hire orientation….I was walking down the main street in Providence, Mass. about 30 years ago and passed a t-shirt shop….in the window was a shirt that had on the front….’Yes, I lied on my resume….but, they lied about the Job’….that has resonated with me all these years…it is very important to be as transparent (and honest) as possible during the interview process...for both candidates and employers....
***Providing Feedback and Coaching;
***Justifying the allocation of rewards and career opportunities;
***Helping with employee career planning and development plans.
There are also three (3) main types of Performance Appraisal tools….Narrative, which could be 360 degree evaluations, where peers, colleagues, customers review the employee or Management by Objectives (MBO), which is basically a management philosophy with specific goals/directions as well as a type of Performance Appraisal….another is the BAR (Behaviorally Anchored Reviews), which focuses on positive and negative behavior and examples are compared to ratings on a performance level scale. Critical Incident reports are another method of Performance Appraisal feedback….something that I’ve espoused for ages….documenting positive/negative performance via a ‘formal’ note to the employee’s file….another file can be created by the supervisor as long as each incident is ‘documented’ with the date of occurrence….
Another form of Performance Evaluation are the rating formulas which basically show checklists (appraiser is shown a list of statements and he/she checks off that which applies most to the employee), forced choice (appraiser is required to check 2 of 4 statements, one being most like the employee’s performance and the other being least like the employee’s performance) and the graphic scale which the numbers are from 1-5 or 1-10 and the appraiser checks the number corresponding to the attribute that is most like the employee.
Comparative Methods are popular in some companies….when I was at Cephalon, the Forced Distribution method was used…this is a Bell Curve type system where everyone in a department is ranked and the end result is 10%, 20% and 40%.....the problem with doing this is that someone is always at the top and someone is always at the bottom….some companies even ‘terminate’ those at the bottom each year.
Self Assessments are also popular but the general consensus is that the employee needs to be very mature and self-evaluative in order to correctly and accurately look at or analyze his/her own performance.
We know that Performance Appraisals are subjective and with any subjective system because they are based on individual perceptions and opinions, there can be many shortcomings. There are a number of errors made on the part of the appraisers such as bias, halo/horn (1 action of the employee was either very positive or very negative and the entire appraisal is based on this one incident), recency (a recent occurrence can cause the appraiser to judge the employee’s entire performance based on the one recent incident), strictness (the appraiser evaluates every direct report from a strict perspective compared to other supervisors/appraisers), leniency (opposite of strictness), etc. I think that you get the picture….however, these errors can be avoided if a narrative method for evaluation is utilized.
The common discussion regarding whether to document performance reviews or not comes into play if there is a possibility that somewhere down the road an employee may be terminated. If an employee receives a positive performance evaluation and is terminated within a relatively short period of time, a cause of action on the part of the employee could possibly ensue. I feel that this is not enough of a reason to refrain from putting performance appraisals in writing. Too much positive can occur from feedback to an employee, even if there are performance issues to address. The basic premise for all employers should be to grow the business with the best possible employees available…..developing individuals in a corporate environment takes effort and energy….
If you would like to know more about the positive impact of all types of Performance Appraisals, please contact Rosanne Bennett at 484-798-1236 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I can guide you through the process if you are an employer and I can help your career development if you are an employee.