Appraisals in the Workplace

Systems which aim to improve workforce performance have been around since Roman times, when liberal use of the whip was considered an enlightened management technique. However, these days there are workplace directives against beating your staff and so you have to find substitutes. The nasty memo, the e-mail from the boss or that old chestnut, the shouting match in the corridor are all very well, but nothing beats a good Performance Appraisal to strike real fear into them.

In truth, the above way of looking at things has gone the way of the Roman Empire (we hope), but vestigial feelings that appraisal systems exist as a tool of aggression are common in many workplaces. We believe that more often than not, this stems from a lack of understanding amongst both management and staff of the underlying purpose of the appraisal.

That fundamental purpose of any performance appraisal is simply to help. To help the individual understand their role, to help them maximise their chances of success within the working environment, to help plan their career and to help the company succeed. If everyone in the organisation is aware of this, and accepts it to be true, then something wonderful starts to happen.

Staff feel more at ease because they work for a company that helps them do their job. They feel more empowered because they know there is help at hand and most importantly, their performance improves because they have a better understanding of roles and expectations.

Each performance management appraisal system will be different, because each company is different. However, there are some key elements which will appear in every well constructed system. The checklist below lists these factors. Check them against your own appraisal system to see if you are getting the very best from your staff.
  • An appraisal system should have the full support of senior management. Without this, the system will eventually collapse.

    The appraisal system should first have been piloted and then reviewed.

    The intentions of the appraisal system should be clearly communicated to all staff.

    All staff should have training in appraisal techniques. Interviewing skills, giving feedback and objective setting are all elements that require training to be carried out effectively.

    The system should enable all staff to have clearly established aims and objectives that are linked with the business strategy.

    The appraisal system should follow a cycle of defining the performance that is required, measuring and evaluating it, giving feedback and sharing information with other parts of the organisation.

    The appraisal system should have simple and easily understood documentation supporting it.

    The appraisal system should not be a part of the standard disciplinary procedures of the company.

    The system should be adaptable and encompass all levels of staff in the organisation.

    The appraisal system must be subject to ongoing monitoring, review, evaluation and updating. Remember, that as your business evolves, so must your appraisal procedures.

From India, Pune

I agree with the suggestions.
PA system whether it 360 degree or any other tool, is an
instrument in the people development process.
The total focus should be on the employee
-facilitated by HRM
-driven by the LINE MANAGERS.
The process should help the employee to self motivate/
self manage the growth of the potential , with the

From India, Mumbai
hey indsujeet,

i totally second the requirements of a good performance appraisal system as listed by you...

but ive got a few questions of my own... (many of them may seem unrelated to each other.. forgive me for that.. just letting my thoughts flow)

how many organisations do actually follow an objective appraisal system?????

do people have the time, money and inclination for it..??

moreover what happens in case of expatriates.. when yr boss or u are not in around each other fr major part of the year.. how can yr appraisor appraise you???

one of the major requirements of any PA system to succeed according to me is having a 2 way communication between the employee and his boss while setting the KRA's or the targets. which is necessary as while targets need to be challenging but achievable not impossible which will cause demotivation among the employees as they will give up without even trying to achieve the targets.

im moreso concerned with the scenario in PSU's...

its actually ironic as the superiors many a times just give good ratings but not excellent as that wil attract an inspection to determine if that employee is actually deserving..!!!

another thing is that itr rare that people maintain a critical incidents list to supplement the ratings given by them.

moreover even thou the HR manuals say that there needs to be periodic review of the goals set, it hardly happens... even the Hr department does not have the time or the energy for a follow up.. they ar so stuck up with the heaps of perfunctionary HR jobs and the fact that they have to go thru soo many people to ge even a simplest of the simple job to be done...

no wonder we complain about the culture persent at PSU's...!!

thou i truly beleive that with more and more PSU's facign tough competition from the private sector its time for them to shape up or ship out.

especially in the banking sector with most banks going in for core banking (the deadline being the year 2007) shuld make things better... Amen???

thats all from my side...


From India, Agartala
Jo Verde

Agree to a large extent with previous posts but would further suggest that an all out change management effort may be required prior to/ in conjunction with intro of piloted appraisal process. My experience has been that where process introduction has failed it has been because PEOPLE are involved and all of the frailities that encompass human attempts to be unbiased and to rise above imperfect appraisal processes poorly implemented.
Had lots of experience with this one and have learned from many mistakes but when you do it right the results can be major satisfying.
Best Regards,
Jo Verde
JeMM Consultants

From Canada, Ottawa
Just about every human resources journal that you pickup these days contains an article on implementing a 360 degree performance evaluation system, where by the work performance of an individual is evaluated not only by a supervisor but also by peers. subordinates, customers, and others familiar with the quality of that person's work. the main aim of every type of evaluation is that the employee gains accurate insight into his effectiveness and aligns his goals and objectives with those of the company.

but i think that that appraisals should only be linked to development not pay and promotions. cause when they are linked to compensation decisions, they lose their power as a development tool.

Concerns were voiced initially that whether the process would be too time-consuming. This can be resolved in a way that with experience the evaluations take less time. Computerized forms may soon replace paper forms, further reducing the time needed to complete and route the forms and to tabulate results.

From Pakistan, Islamabad
Okie.. it is actually for appraisal for the following:
- Confirmation
- Annual Assessment
- Upgrading etc
well, i am in a manufacturing company.. below are some the positions.
a) Operators
b) Line Leader / Shift Leader
c) Assistant Engineer / Senior Engineer / Maintenance Technician
d) Manager - Plant (Overall) / Production / QA / Finance / Logisitics/ General & Operation / Sales & Marketing
e) Executive - Admin / HR / Accountant / Sales Coordinator etc
How do i come up with a good appraisal ??
Thanks & Regards

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