Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Performance Appraisal Blues

Performance Appraisal Blues

A performance appraisal can be good or bad, depending on the employee. The appraisal, in theory, is designed to provide an orderly way for an employee’s superior to interact with him, usually on an annual basis, to tell him what the company thinks about his job performance and how to improve it by pointing out key positives and negatives about his on-the-job performance over the past year.

Its primary mission is to give feedback to help employees strengthen their capabilities so that they can be more productive members of the organisation, and in the process receive additional compensation or responsibility.

The review is used to convey both satisfaction with an employee’s job performance (leading, hopefully, to a raise) and dissatisfaction (which could be the precursor to a demotion or even a termination).

To grow with an organisation when an employee has received a less-than-sterling review, he has to learn to separate the "learning" areas from the "hurting" parts of the message (i.e. the personal or work related negatives). For the employee, the bottom line of a performance appraisal is often of a fairly short range.

Most employees come out of an appraisal that is critical of their performance understandably upset or angry. One important thing to remember is that the employee is still at the company (not applying for a job) so there's a lot they can do before resigning themselves to being terminated or being forced to leave.

Five keys to help employees to cope with and overcome a bad appraisal

1. Employees should go in with a list of accomplishments that they have accumulated over the past year. They will be surprised at how much they have accomplished.
2. They should go into the review assuming there will be some negatives, and think of the meeting as a way to learn what specific issues they have to work on to get to that next step. It's the boss' job to let the employees know about areas where they can improve, so the employee should try not to be offended. The employees’ goal is to convince the supervisor, in a positive manner, that they are willing to make that commitment.
3. Before going into a review, employees should separate a page into two columns. The first should be headed "Specific Areas of Strength"; the second, "Specific Areas of Improvement." It's very important that they hear both the good and the bad comments, because they will never improve, to their boss' satisfaction, if they deny, in their anger, that there are any areas needing improvement.
4. Employees should ask for clarification and specific examples if they hear generalisations or don't understand what the problem is. But they should try hard not to be too argumentative.
5. Employees should find out how their boss might solve these issues, and ask for another review in 30 days to address these specific issues, to see if headway is being made.

Employees should remember that if they spend their time being hurt by or defensive about what is said, and not learning about what they can do to change their boss' perception, they are doing themselves a disservice.

What they should try to accomplish is to leave the meeting with a good idea of what they can do to improve their boss' perception of them, before the next appraisal. The employees should also create an image of a thoughtful employee who is willing to change and able to modify behaviour.

Good jobs are hard to come by, and if employees like their job, this approach will help to give them a fighting chance to assess and correct areas that their supervisor feels may have been overlooked, without allowing personal feelings to dominate.

Reference: TheManageMentor


Jean said...

Performance management is needed for all the reasons stated, however, in the practical world, it is seen as cumbersome and unfair for two reasons. Most managers are ill equipped to assess performance and provide practical and unbiased coaching and most performance management systems are too complicated and do not provide concrete data.

Assessment should happen every day, in every encounter for effective coaching to occur. If the behavior is observed at the beginning of the month but nothing is said till the end of the month a lot of time and money can and will be wasted. Now I know that every good human resources person would never suggest that a manager should wait until the scheduled time to coach, but that is what a lot of managers do. Why? Because, the system has built into it a specific time to coach. The manager may not know what to look for or know how to correct the problem in a meaningful way, so he will just wait for that set time to go over generalities.

Managers have a lot on their plate they need tools that will allow them to assess performance quickly and produce meaningful and consistent coaching. Setting goals are important but in today’s world goals can change overnight. The goal set at the beginning of the quarter is quite often meaningless by the end of the quarter. Goals can limit the individual’s ability to respond to immediate needs of the customer and the organization. The goals become rules that create mediocrity. If the individual meets their goals is that good enough? Wouldn’t you prefer people exceed your expectations?

There is only one thing that should be measured when assessing performance - commitment - to a shared vision, who we are, what we do, why we do it and how we do it.

Professional Consultant said...

Thanks a ton for such nice thoughts dear Jean.

I want to make this blog a success ans would require help to do so.

The idea of running this online forum is to make it a ready reference for its followers for the long time.

Please suggest some topics for discussion.


luxe said...


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Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Performance appraisal management

Best regards