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Performance appraisal

The modern human resource departments in many organizations have explored and are using the aspect of evaluating how the various employees of the organization are performing their jobs in the organizational day to day activities in order to achieve its goals and objectives both in the long term and in the short term.

Performance appraisal is one of the most common methods that organizations use to assess and evaluate work performance of their workers in order to tell the weaknesses and strengths of every individual task within the organization so as to be able to handle well the emerging business opportunities and threats in the business market. With that effect, the process of performance appraisal has also been included as part of the strategic plans of the organizations that will help the organizations to achieve their objectives and goals.

This research paper will focus on performance appraisal and discuss on how organizations carry out performance appraisal, the different goals as to why performance appraisal is carried out, how the process is carried out, the main principles that guide performance appraisal programs, the main methods of carrying out performance appraisal among other aspects that concern performance appraisal.

This is all aimed at giving the

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management of an organization the importance of evaluating performance of tasks of workers in order to have a better competitive position in the marketplace over their competitors. Performance appraisal As defined in (Armstrong 660) performance appraisal involves those activities that are done in an organization that involves the employees and the employers, whereby evaluations are made on how all the organizational jobs are being carried out in the organization.

Various factors that affect work performance are identified and then evaluated in relation to the jobs in the organization; recommendations are made for improving the job performance and then necessary changes made. The main purpose for doing all this is to appreciate the performance of various individuals in their jobs, punish for the mistakes done and make necessary changes possible among other actions.

(Bratton and Gold 257) discusses that in most occasions the organizations use the performance appraisal technique as a means of determining the rewards to give its employees which range from monetary value rewards like money given in salaries and other allowances which are made in terms of money to the non monetary value items like taking them for trips, holidays and leave among others. The scope of performance appraisal as discussed in (Armstrong 660) includes all the activities of the organization from the top level to the bottom level of the organizational hierarchy.

In addition to that, in carrying out the performance appraisal process the organization should bear in mind that it is the jobs and tasks of the organization that are appraised and not the individuals who carry out the jobs so as to avoid biasness that arises with the judgments that are made about people which tend to be subjective in nature. The performance appraisal process As described in (Bratton and Gold 257) the process involves assessing the various activities of the organizations by comparing and assessing major factors that determine work performance in various work environments.

The four major factors that are considered include skills of doing the jobs, being able to be answer for the actions that one is expected to answer for, the external and internal features and the art of being able to solve problems that arise in the organization among other factors. Skills include the knowledge that individuals possess for carrying out tasks, the experiences that they have in certain tasks and the efforts that they apply in carrying out the jobs.

For an organization to introduce a performance appraisal program to its organization it has to follow the following steps; make sure that the idea of performance appraisal is made known to the organization as a whole and communicate it well so as to get a level of support that the performance appraisal program will need in order to succeed. This is necessary as the program of performance appraisal need to be supported by the majority of the members of the organization who will be providing the information about the performance of various jobs in the organization (Bratton and Gold 224-264).

Once the idea is made known to the organizational members it has to be approved by the management of the organization who are the people that will ensure the program is supported especially by the influence that they have on the organizational members that is derived from the power bases they have built for their leadership positions, the organizational politics awareness they have and their skills in solving conflict situations in the organization (Bratton and Gold 336-392).

As summarized in (Bratton and Gold 336-392) when the program is approved by the organization’s management team, individuals can be formed into teams for the purpose of the appraisal program and then trained on the performance appraisal program. The methods of conducting performance appraisal are selected by the team members. The methods that are selected should ensure that the organization’s goals and objectives are met in that particular performance appraisal program and that the method will be able to evaluate well all the job components within an organization (Bratton and Gold 14-40).

Using the performance appraisal methods that have been selected to carry out the performance appraisal program, information on the performance of various jobs is then collected in the organization. The collected information is then used to ensure that all that is evaluated is what happens in reality in the organization. This will be done to ensure that the process does not turn out to be too subjective to a level that will render the whole program unsuccessful (Dowling et al 267-274).

The importance of various jobs is then analyzed by listing them from the top to the bottom in order of their performance levels so as to enable the organization to link the performance to the respective rewards as a way of appreciating the efforts made by others in making contributions in various jobs to help the organization to achieve its goals and objectives (Bratton and Gold 336-392). Actions are taken further to ensure that the jobs that are achieving the best rewards are able to get what they deserve in terms of the various rewards that the organization provides.

Finally the organization can keep repeating the program of performance appraisal as it will wish to carry it out in order to ensure that the contents and values of various jobs are maintained in the organization all the time (Bratton and Gold 336-392). Goals of performance appraisal As discussed in (Armstrong 660) performance appraisal involves two major activities, one that involves the assessing of how individuals are carrying out work that is assigned to them for a given period of time and the second part involves giving the information that has been gathered in the assessing the performance of tasks of the concerned persons.

The process of performance appraisal involves the employees of the organization and their employers and all this two parties have different goals and objectives that they would like to achieve in any performance appraisal program that is being carried in the organization. Their goals and objectives in most cases are guided by their own interests in the organization that they want to achieve.

For example the employer will want to use the information that is gotten from performance appraisal to reward workers who meet the required standards or punish those that do not seem to be serious with the organizational activities and to make the necessary adjustments that will enable the organization to move towards the direction of achieving its goals and objectives which mainly include making good profit returns and satisfying and retaining their customers (Armstrong 660).

As for the employees they would like to know how well they are working hard in the organizations to achieve the required standards, what is expected from them as they work for that particular organization, the areas where they need to make improvements among others.

As can be seen from the above goals of different parties in the organization toward the performance appraisal as an aspect of managing human resources in the organization the main point of focus is to be able to make sure that each individual in the organization makes a significant contribution to the organizational goals and objectives through how he or she will be carrying out the organizational activities (Dowling et al 268-274).

The other goal as to why performance appraisal is carried out in an organization is to ensure that the organization is put in a position that will enable it to move more steps ahead each and every time as it is in business activities. This is because the various jobs are analyzed to determine their contributions to the organization’s main objectives. Finally, performance appraisal is a way in which the contributions of various individuals in an organization can be recognized so as to take necessary actions.

Just to sum the importance of carrying out performance appraisal is to be able to appreciate that it makes people more responsible in the work place and be answerable for the various actions that they do in the organization to move the organization to great heights(Armstrong 660). Criteria As the an organization would want to achieve its goals and objectives either in a given short period of time or for a long period of time, it then means that performing performance evaluation will be focusing on particular areas that are of major assistance in achieving the overall organizational goals and objectives.

The performance appraisal should therefore focus on areas like the use of the organization resources in the production process. The ways in which the employees and the management use the resources that are available in the organization should form part of the performance appraisal for any given job in the organization. If he or she wastes the resources that will show that person is not in helping the organization to achieve its goals and objectives (Armstrong 668).

Dowling et al (267-274) points out that the process should involve the consideration of the main goals and objectives of the organization and then making a comparison on the extent to which the goals and objectives have been achieved by each individual job in their performance. The goals that performance appraisal program wants to achieve for that matter should be relevant when they can be aligned to the organization’s mission. It is also important that individuals and management share some common goals for the good of the organization to enable it achieve its goals and objectives.

In addition to that, the process of performance appraisal among other factors should involve all the parties in the organization who in one way or another make some given level of impact to the performance standards of the organization in the workplace. This can be achieved only if the process is well explained to them and they are given the results from the exercises conducted in performance appraisal which will help in a way as they will be able to understand the importance of why performance appraisal is being carried out (Armstrong 668).

How the organization has been able to grow in the performance of its activities is another area that should be included in performance appraisal so as to be able to connect the changes that the organization has made with the particular contributions that have been made by various individuals within that organization. In such cases the growth of an organization is assessed by its profit returns resulting from its business activities that are carried by various individuals.

Costs of carrying out a business are also assessed to be able to determine the extra costs that are a burden to the organization and how various individuals have contributed to such costs (Armstrong 668). As discussed in (Armstrong 668-669) the quality and the quantity of the production processes and products are also analyzed to appraise jobs in an organization that are assigned to individuals to perform.

This will include assessing how different individuals coordinate with others in the production activities and the contributions that each person makes to the production process. An individual’s attendance to the various activities of the organization should also be considered as their presence will determine the contributions that they will make to the organization. This can be done by going through the attendance registers that are kept by various in different should the day to day reports on the attendance of individuals to their tasks.

In addition to that, the techniques that are chosen to be used in assessing performance of individuals in an organization should be able to give information that can be measurable to the given set standards of the organization and in that way enable the management to determine whether or not to reward the employees according to the performance standards. This will involve the assessing of the communication system of the organization in passing on information and giving feedbacks to the concerned persons as a way of carrying out the organization’s activities (Armstrong 668).

Principles to guide the process (Armstrong 667) points out that any performance appraisal programs are guided by certain principles that ensure that the process is able to give the management of an organization the good quality of job evaluations results. This will be able to assist the organization to make necessary changes that will enable the organization be at a better competitive competition in the marketplace.

As discussed in (Bratton and Gold 122) the principles require that for any performance appraisal to be carried out in an organization there must be jobs that are existing in the first place in the organization and such jobs are must be well described to both the employees and the management of the organization so as to know who does what in the organization when evaluating the jobs. The jobs that are well defined according to what they comprise of in the organization must all be evaluated in the performance appraisal program.

As the performance appraisal technique is to enable the organization to evaluate its performance in its business activities it is necessary for the organization to evaluate all the jobs in the organization from the top level of management to the bottom level so as to get a clear picture of how the organizational activities contribute to the main purpose of the organization (Bratton and Gold 336-392). Before any evaluation of jobs is carried out, those that are carrying out the evaluation process must ensure that they are fully aware of what the job contents and profiles of various jobs are before they can evaluate them.

This is one of the ways of ensuring that biasness does not tamper with the evaluation process whereby the process becomes more subjective by evaluating the individuals who performs the various jobs instead of the jobs as the principles require (Bratton and Gold 380). The fourth principle requires that those that will be involved in the evaluation of jobs to evaluate how a specific job is being carried out in relation to the other organizational jobs and not comparing the individuals who perform those tasks.

This a way of ensuring that individuals do not get victimized for the mistakes that they do in the organization in a wrong way but instead by assisting them to improve their performance in various tasks that they are assigned to do(Bratton and Gold 336-392). The other principle as discussed in (Bratton and Gold 336-392) is the one that deals with making sure that, when a particular job in an organization is being evaluated all the parts that make the whole job component are all evaluated.

This is aimed at ensuring that the evaluations of the jobs give conclusive results of what really happens in the work place and with that it will be easy for the management of an organization to identify areas that need attention in terms of training and giving the people who carry out such jobs some form of assistance among other ways that will help to rectify the mistakes that are realized in various jobs.

It is also important for the evaluators, the employees and the management of the organization to bear in mind that, the process of performance appraisal is not a scientific process as such, because it does not involve the use of scientific facts that are supposed to be tested with the organization’s performance standards.

Instead, it is a process that involves subjective analysis of the components of various jobs in an organization in relation to the factors that influence performance and how they are being accomplished in pursuit of the objectives and goals of the organization both in the short run and in the long run(Bratton and Gold 336-392).

After the all the job activities of the organization have been evaluated, the information that is collected about various jobs must be tested to check on how accurate the information results are in determining the performance levels of various jobs in accomplishing the overall performance of the organization during different times of the organization’s production activities.

Finally, the information that will be collected from the performance appraisal program of the various jobs of the organization should help to identify the problem areas clearly and allow the organization to devise alternatives in trying to solve the problems that arise in various jobs. This is supposed to ensure that the performance appraisal technique will assist the organization in the problem solving skills as it focuses on all the components of all the jobs that exist within an organization that is being appraised (Bratton and Gold 336-392).

Communication in performance appraisal It is very important for an organization to ensure that they communicate the results of any form of job evaluations that they have carried out. This will help in making the necessary adjustments in the areas that need to be rectified and be able to determine who will be able to handle different tasks well that will lead to allocating people to the rights jobs. This will be a necessary ingredient in achieving organizational growth and development in carrying out its activities (Bratton and Gold 379-391).

Though communication is such an important tool in performance appraisal, it has been under used to communicate the results of performance appraisal because the manager tend to fear the reactions that they will receive the employees if they make them aware of their performance standards especially when it relates to poor performance standards. In some cases also communication of performance appraisal results can be used to express the personal feeling of a manager which in the real sense does not reflect on the actual performance of the individuals in an organization (Bratton and Gold 379-391).

Appraisal techniques A wide range of techniques have been invented by researchers that are available for use that enable the management and employees of an organization to rate the performance of various individuals in an organization. This include both laid down procedures in written documents in the company and other non formal means that are used to assess the behaviors and performance of an individual in the work place.

They can also grouped according to the way that they are used to present data that they collect about the performance of the employees whereby there are the quantitative techniques and the qualitative ones. Some of these techniques include ranking technique, point factor method of appraisal, percentage method, hay guide chart and classification method (Armstrong 672-673). Ranking method as a discussed in (Armstrong 672-673) involves the process by which the performance of individuals in an organization is evaluated by arranging on the level of preference (good to worse) the factors that describe performance standards.

This is done by either listing in a certain format these performance factors like skills, responsibilities, effort and working conditions according to their preference from the best to the worst or taking the performance standards of various individuals as a whole lot and comparing them with others by pairing them to groups that are called ranks. It is such a simple method and quick method of evaluating performance that can be used in the organization especially when the number of employees to be evaluated is relatively small.

However, the method cannot be used to evaluate a large group of individuals as it will be tedious to be comparing individuals’ performance to be able to evaluate them. In addition to that, the method is based on personal opinions on the individual’s ability to work, the working environment and the strength either physical or mental among other factors of assessing the general ability to do work. Personal opinions are not the best ways in which to evaluate a person as performance of individuals is not based on how we perceive them but on their personalities (Armstrong 672-673).

Despite the weaknesses that the ranking method has it can be improved by making sure that before individuals are allowed to evaluate the performance of the employees of an organization, they are given full and detailed information about the jobs that are to be evaluated and then selecting the rates to use. Then only factors that have monetary value the ones that should be used to rate jobs not all the factors including even those that do not attract any money value in the organization (Armstrong 672-673).

According to (Armstrong 672) point factor method is an improved ranking method that involves using factors such as the skills of the individuals in relation to their academic qualifications, ability to do a given task and the work experience of that person to carry out that job, the responsibilities that the person has in the organization, the efforts that the person demonstrates in doing the given jobs and the different working conditions under which the jobs are carried out.

Upon taking all these factors each of the factors is subdivided into levels like for example five levels which could include excellent, good, average, bad, worse. Each of the individuals in the organization is rated using this technique and the results are assigned monetary value as the different as the different factors are assigned monetary value so as to reward individuals according to their scores. Assigning of monetary value to factors is done depending on how the individuals feel a job is valuable to the organization as compared to the other.

As compared to the rating technique the point factor method can be used to evaluate many individuals at the same time and the value of the tasks that individuals perform is recognized as valuable by assigning it monetary value. The disadvantages with the method is that it just like the ranking method the factors that are used to evaluate persons are rated with a lot of subjectivity which makes the method be unreliable for use when a reliable source of performance analysis is required.

The method is also biased when it comes to way of determining the way of rewarding individuals depending on their scores (Armstrong 672). As discussed in (Bratton and Gold 257) classification technique involves putting the different jobs that individuals in an organization carry out into groups that are called classes. Then different classes of jobs are then compared with each other to determine which one has been done better than the other.

The method is simple and easy to use as the only major activity is grouping the jobs into classes and the comparison of the jobs done. The method also allows for new jobs to be appraised because new groups can be created any time a new job category is created. The disadvantages with this method is that sometimes the idea of trying to put the jobs can be hard for the jobs that do not fall into specific job categories like research and development department of an organization that carries out the research activities for all the departments of the organization.

Concerning the way the different jobs are valued, the method treats all the jobs in the organization as being equal in value and thus attaching same value to all of the jobs in the organization which in reality are not and never will they be the same in any organization (Bratton and Gold 257). Hay guide chart method as discussed in (Armstrong 663-667) involves the evaluation of individuals on the basis of their jobs that they perform by using factors that are generally considered to be existing in each organization an as such they are called universal factors.

The factors include the how well a person is able to follow the procedures and techniques that are used in the organization, the level with how a person is able to relate well with others in the organization to bring out the required results which are both called know how. The other factors include the working conditions of various jobs, the ability to solve problems that arise in the day to day activities of the organization.

The hay guide method using the universal factors will then evaluate the different jobs on a 15 interval scale and then compare the jobs with each others so as to come up with the job that is well performed than the others in the organization. This kind of method allows the organization to make adjustments that will fit its unique structure to achieve a successful appraisal process because it mainly provides a guide on how the organization should carry out the appraisal process (Armstrong 663-667).

The hay guide technique involves the examining the organization in which the appraisal plan is to be carried upon examining the organization the standards are selected that will be used to evaluate the performance of individuals, the analysis of the various jobs follow, a group of people that will assist in carrying out the analysis is then selected. Finally the jobs are compared with the standards that were identified in the previous steps.

As compared with the other methods the hay guide technique does not take into consideration what happens in the externals of the organization in determining the performance of the employees and it is a person who does not belong to that organization that carries out the appraisal process (Armstrong 663-667). The percentage method uses a percentage scale of between 0 and 100 percentage to make comparisons of jobs that individuals perform in an organization either upwards or downwards in the organizational hierarchy using the principles that are established in the ranking technique(Armstrong 666) .

Importance of performance appraisal As discussed by Patricia in her article on the importance of performance appraisal programs, by undertaking a performance appraisal process the organization is taking a step forward to develop its employees. This is because it will help in building on their expertise in their jobs as performance appraisal process helps to discover the mistakes that hinder a person from doing his or her job well then make corrections to mistakes that have lead to individuals not achieving high results as the organization would expect them to achieve.

The whole process of performance appraisal will in turn assist the organization to identify the areas that the employees of the organization are not performing well or the employees who are not achieving the required standards so that it will train them in future and in that way the process will have acted as a way of developing employees within an organization (Patricia 2004). By making sure that the feedbacks from the performance appraisal exercises are made known to the participants, the process encourages the organization to have an efficient communication system in carrying its day to day activities.

This will ensure that the jobs are well coordinated and as a result good performance levels are likely to be achieved through such an efficient communication system. If the performance of individuals is used to reward them for their good work done and punish them for the merits that they have not achieved then such a technique acts as a way of encouraging individuals to work hard so as to receive rewards just like their colleagues who have been appreciated for the good performance that they have made for the organization.

This will help to improve the skills of doing work, improve the individual’s work experience, build on the competencies and improve the working conditions where the various activities of the organization (Patricia 2004). The only disadvantage of this program is that for the management that does not want to expose its weaknesses, then it will be a humiliation to them as it evaluates all the employee’s jobs in the organization including its management (Patricia 2004).

In addition to that the process of performance appraisal tends to demand much commitment from the organization so as to enable it to carry the process to its conclusion. This is sometimes expensive for the organization to handle besides the other commitments that the organization has in producing good quality products, satisfying its customers among other commitments.

To improve on the way of carrying out the performance appraisal process the organization needs to involve all the employees and design a time period within which the program will be carried so as to make a thorough analysis on all the factors that affect performance of individuals in the organization. On top of that the process should be done from time to time as a way of making sure that the employees and the management of the organization remain focused to the goals and objectives of the organization.

Besides the above recommendations the organization needs to improve its communication system so as to keep pace with the changing needs in the work environments and the business environment (Patricia 2004). The future of performance appraisal As the business environment is changing every now and again jobs positions and tasks are being designed in many organizations so as to meet the demands in the market especially the changes that relate to the technological advances and business competition.

The creation of this jobs that are more complex in nature than the previous traditional ones demand that organizations and researches devise techniques that will be able to meet the needs of the changing business environment in order to make the performance appraisal results more viable to the extent that they will enable the organizations to have a better competitive position over the competitors (Armstrong 672-673). Word count 5065 References Armstrong. M.

A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. 10th edition. Kogan page publishers, 2006. Bratton J and Gold J. Human resource management: theory and practice. 2nd edition, Routledge publishers, 2001. Dowling P, Welch D, Festing and Engle A. International Human Resource Management: managing people in a multinational context. 5th edition, Cengage Learning EMEA, 2008. Patricia Lawrence. The importance of having a performance appraisal program. The trusted professional magazine, vol 7, 14, November 2004.

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