There has been a shift in attitudes and values as a focus, from employees and employers pursuing their traditional roles to the more revolutionary methodology, which the organisations have now become accustomed to. The modern approach involves the formation of an intertwining relationship between employee goals and the vision and goals of the organisation, commonly known as ‘Performance Management. ’ Performance Management is a process by which the accomplishment of goals, usage of information in making key decisions, and allocating resources are all effectively collected and evaluated as an organisation monitoring strategy.
Performance Appraisal’ is a fundamental apparatus that plays a significant role in the performance management system. Performance appraisal is the process by which an individual’s work behaviours and outcomes are measured against the expectations of the job. Performance appraisal should be a positive experience and contribute to the overall welfare of the organisation. If done properly, performance appraisal is a very effective tool in improving performance and productivity, and for development of employees. It helps individuals to do better, raises self-esteem and motivation.
Above all it strengthens the management/subordinate relationship and fosters commitment. However, there are vital aspects in an effective performance appraisal that must be met, which include assessing performance against agreed targets and objectives, and behaviour and attitudes against espoused values; using psychological skills to provide constructive feedback on individual’s performance while emphasising on positive reinforcement; and having a frank exchange of views and having a joint agreement on how to improve or sustain performance.
It is also important to stress that a positive relationship between individuals and line managers, and the social and psychological skills of line managers play a significant role in conducting an effective performance appraisal. In order to conduct an effective appraisal process manager need to consider some key elements. First is measuring individuals performance and process based on the given goals and targets, and behaviour.
Second, it is important to provide feedback based upon this, to motivate the employee to perform better in the future, especially during the evolvement of roles and any change of programme. Thirdly, managers need to provide a positive reinforcement on what has been done well in the past and also emphasising upon what might be improved. This also helps managers make employees understand what is done and how things are done, ensuring that employees are putting in right amount of effort that would add value to the organisation. Fourthly, it is important to exchange views about what has happened.
This helps employees and managers understand each other’s perspective better and enable employees to improve on their performance. Lastly. Both parties need to agree and come to an understanding about how to improve their performance and overcome any issues that were raised during the process. All managers that are expected to conduct performance appraisal need to undergo some training. This training includes the skills required to carry out the appraisal – ‘how to do it’ and the reason the performance appraisal is conducted – ‘why the organisation does it’.
Managers are to understand how the appraisal process adapts into the more comprehensive strategic process of performance management and how the information and data generated through the process contributes to an understanding of the capacity of the organisation’s human capital to contribute to business strategy and value. However, a basic requirement is that appraisers need to have the skills to conduct an effective appraisal, which in particular includes they need to ask the right questions, listen actively and provide constructive feedback.
One of the important skills that a manager need to posses in order to give an effective appraisal is asking the right questions. A performance appraisal is an opportunity for the appraiser to raise awareness about the appreaisee’s performance, both good and not so good, so that that performance can be improved and/ or changed in the future. It is essential for a manager to ask open and closed questions. As open question are more general that enables an individual to decide how the question should be answered and encourages them to talk freely.
For example: How do you feel things have been going? How do you see the job developing? Where as closed questions are more specific forcing the appraisee to come up with an answer that appraiser is looking for. This encourages appraisees to provide more information about their feelings and attitudes, while they can also be used to reflect back to the individual and check information. Using open and/ or closed questions forces the appraisee to come up with an answer himself or herself.
By finding the answer themselves individuals tend to become more resourceful, confident and committed. Another skill required by the manager is listening. For an appraiser to be a good listener during the appraisal process, they need to concentrate on what appraisee is speaking and need to be aware of body language and behaviour. Managers also need to ask questions to clarify the meaning, respond quickly when required without interrupting the employee and give comments to express the understanding.
Last but the most important skill is giving feedback. The main aim of feedback to help appraisee understand the consequences of their actions and behaviour in the organisation. During feedback employees are generally provided with information about their performance. This process generates the understanding of what went wrong and how to out things right rather than criticising the past behaviour. Feedback reinforces the positive aspects and helps identifies the opportunities for future positive Wactions.