Monday, October 06, 2008

Its high time Performance appraisal systems became more transparent...Some simple guidelines!

Something which will always lead to trouble in a performance appraisal system is if any one of the participant in the appraisal process is not honest. The appraisal system should be such that it is not unfair to the employee and should not be a weapon in the hands of the appraiser such that it is only based on his whims and fancies. A better approach should be to involve a larger number of people in the process or to take into account a larger time frame when conducting appraisals so that it becomes impartial. Some of the things that can be done here are:

1. 180, 270 or 360 degree appraisal programs so that the appraisal is not in the hands of a single person.
2. The organization looks at the performance of the employee over the last 3 years preceding the appraisal and if the employee has not been in the organization for so long then the total time frame is taken into account.
3. If an employee is not satisfied with the appraisal given then there should be grievance resolution mechanisms to sort out the concerns.
4. The appraiser can be asked to list out specific details of performance appraisal with examples relating to why such a rating was given.

Only when such steps are implemented to safeguard employees against the vindictive agenda of the superiors will the performance appraisal become a meaningful tool in the hands of the employer to ensure productivity and commitment from the employees.

Ritesh Sharan


Divya Kumar said...

Ritesh....though I agree that sometimes Performance appraisal is not done fairly by managers but point 1 can be applied if you are having developmental discussions or looking at long term potential of the employee. To some extent 360 degree feedback can work on softer aspects like values, behaviors etc. But performance is tracked usually against pre-set objectives which your direct manager and indirect manager(in case of matrix structures) only can evaluate. Mostly such problems are avoided by setting SMART objectives.
I agree with your point 2 of looking at long term performance Sudden variation can be an indicator of several problems one of them being the one you have highlighted.
Point 3 might open up Pandora's box for an organization. This has potential to become a tool in hands of associates to blackmail their managers. One can always have an open meeting with manager in HR manager's presence in case of extreme discontent but no 'grievance' redressal.
Your point 4 along with SMART objectives actually gives the most reliable and most implemented solution in my opinion to the problem you pointed out.

Robin said...

Divya....personally i would assume that only a 360 degree feedback along with the levels of attainment of SMART goals is what is going to really provide the right context in which to appraise the employee. It gives a great identification of levels of soft skills and tangible targets. Consider my background where soft skills can make or break a deal. Although i will agree, the degree to which these inputs need to be modified for various roles will differ. Also point 3 can become a problem if not handled properly but if process guidelines are set clearly, then i dont see why this cant be implememted particularly at the managerial levels and above.

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