The importance of this critical analysis can be understood from various perspectives. If a performance appraisal is given to the employees, it enhances opening of the communication lines between the supervisors and the employees. In addition, it will be possible for the employees to understand the expectations in the organization. Moreover, through a comprehensive performance system, it will be possible for the improvement areas to be cited followed by definition of mechanisms through which the changes may be enhanced. Besides offering a critical analysis and evaluation, this article provides the guidelines through which the organization can be able to develop an employee appraisal form.
Currently, the performance appraisal form provided by Employee Performance Solution (EPS) aims at examining the employee’s performance trend in relation to the organizational goals. It is through this approach that the organization can be in a position to decide whether to promote or fire the existing employees. This type of form has mainly been preferred in many organizations for many years (Grote, 2002). According to the argument developed by the same author, simplicity defines preference and hence justifies why many organizations will be brief in understanding their employees through the performance appraisal. Critically, this form can be perceived to be outdated. In support to this argument, Armstrong and Appelbaum (2003) insist that a simple performance appraisal form may hardly be able to evaluate the more personal information of the employees. Through its general view, the organization collects the general information based on which it may makes inconclusive decisions about the specific employees. Armstrong and Appelbaum (2003) also explain on the need for a confidence performance system for self-sufficient staff members. Hence, the same authors perceive feedback as necessary in the bid to ensure that the departmental goals and objectives are met regularly. Therefore, an inconclusive feedback system may challenge the management when it comes to understanding the department’s objectives.
Understanding an employee performance appraisal
Before comprehensively examining a performance appraisal form, a definition needs to be developed on the performance appraisal system fundamental. Terrence (2004) perceives performance appraisal to incorporate a system whereby work performance of the employee is judged or rated by a person other than the employee. In some instances, this rating is observed to cover a specific period coupled with being applied to all the employees. In most organization, this process is usually exercised as a mandatory obligation while in some cases it usually acts as an inducement from an intrinsic incentive. This implies that the voluntary obligation may not be connected to the performance appraisal. As Coens and Jenkins (2000) insist, “the department is hence reserved to preserve the rating as opposed to the employee reservation right” (p.13). Coens and Jenkins hence add that the existence of a performance appraisal will be perceived to be eminent if the above requirements are met.
In order to understand the components and aspects of the performance appraisal as generated by Employee Performance Solution (EPS), there are a number of questions that should initially be addressed. First, does the performance appraisal have potential benefits? Secondly, it is important to understand the probable drawbacks that are likely to be faced when a performance appraisal system is instituted. Third, the components of an effective performance appraisal form needs to be evaluated. With the results of these examinations, the recommendations can be provided on the establishment of an effective performance appraisal.
From various studies conducted, the findings insist on the importance of a detailed performance appraisal. Alexon (2002) insists that through a comprehensive performance appraisal, a baseline is provided through which each employee’s performance is improved and consequently the whole department. The arguments surrounding the performance appraisal are focused on understanding the type of system to be utilized, the way through which this system is implemented, and the approach of utilizing the appraisal results within the organization. Most cases are usually characterized by incomplete appraisal forms. In these forms, Grote (2002) cites the inability of to fulfill their potentials because there is no clarity on the aims coupled with the inability of the users adapting at daily management of the people.
When evaluating the performance appraisal benefits, Alexon (2002) strongly upholds the value of the personnel. It is hence important that an organization understands if the best benefits are received from them. In addition, these employees need to understand how the organization values them. Lastly, Alexon (2002) insists on the need for this performance appraisal being helpful in both areas—the employee and the organization. Through adoption of a program in performance appraisal, it is possible for the feedback to be given to the employees in relation to their performance. Insisting on the feedback importance, Alexon (2002) explains that the employees would otherwise be left to make their individual opinions in relation to the performance. This may result in a feeling of performing according to the standards of the organization, when in real sense this may not be the case. Alternatively, they may have a feeling of extending substandard performance, when the opposite might be true. For most employees, doing a respectable job is their aim. However, with little knowledge on their performance, Alexon (2002) cites the likelihood of stress being the outcome.
Sugan (2002) insists that one benefit of the performance appraisal lies in the belief that there is an opening to communication between the subordinates and the managers. Bogard (2000) adds that through an effective communication during the process of performance review, the manager-subordinate relationship can be enhanced. Even if the performance review outcomes are not agreed by the parties, Bogard (2000) explains that there will be dialog likelihood. Bogard (2000) hence insists that the most important point is based on the fact that there has been a meaningful conversation.
Bogard (2000) explains that exploration of the training issues is another prospective benefit connected with the performance appraisal. From one aspect, the same author insists that if training in not received on one evaluation category, this becomes apparent once the review process begins. Through the evaluation, the standardization of the organization agency will in addition be verified (APCO, 2001).
Through the performance appraisal, Moulder (2001) cites the ability of the customer benefits to be met by the employee. Lack of appraisal on the other hand is likely to depict lack of surety among the department members on the organizations objectives. Moulder (2001) adds that based on the fact that the employees’ service is basically in compliance with the clients demands, performance appraisal is perceived to enhance endeavoring service delivery characterized by accountability and effectiveness. Therefore, Moulder (2001) insists on the importance of the organization understanding the customers’ wants and expectations so that the employees can be enlightened on these expectations.
Addressing the shortcomings in a performance appraisal
Various articles have comprehensively addressed various concerns that are encountered when it comes to adoption of a performance appraisal. Valid concerns are however observable in the way that the manifestation of these valid concerns is seen (APCO, 2001). APCO (2001) insists that no matter the comprehensiveness in the construction of the performance appraisal, the subjective reviews will mostly prevail. For example, in reference to the Employee Performance Solution (EPS) performance appraisal, determining exactly what motivates the employee may prove to be very hard or even impossible. This particular performance appraisal is attached to a promotion or bonus and establishing if the employee was motivated by the promotion or bonus may be very hard. If the employee motivation was solely triggered by the bonus, a formal system of appraisal may not be needed. The main issue will be addressing the effectiveness of the performance system for the employee that failed to meet the standards. Another concern will be whether the employees will accept the feedbacks thereby improve their performance if they are aware that improvement carries no incentive. In other words, was the improvement of the employees’ performance boosted by the potential incentive or the performance appraisal?
Considering the modern working environment that is increasingly characterized by the increase in litigation, a careful monitoring and developing of any appraisal system becomes very important. Because these litigations consider evidences such as presence of the performance appraisal, a careful documentation of poor performance becomes very important. Although adoption of the appraisal system may be triggered by the employment litigation potentials, there is support to the need of strong emphasis on training to take place. In case of a faulty program (in any way), Armstrong (2009) cites the likelihood of unfair scrutiny of the program structure by the court as opposed to the poor performance of the employees. The mere fact that there was incorrect design and administration of the program will obviously override the poor performance of the employee in the law courts (Armstrong, 2009).
Coens and Jenkins (2000) insist that with a well-developed appraisal system, there can be no harm or good. In most cases, Coens and Jenkins (2000) explain that the human spirit is destroyed by the appraisals. Hence, within a span of a short meeting, the employee morale is likely to be destroyed (Coens & Jenkins, 2000). In case the supervisors are unable to conduct a performance review, the same authors discourages on the need for developing the whole program. The same authors obviously cite the likelihood of most appraisal processes being incomplete or failing to meet the potential based on the fact that ultimate aims are used. Hence, the appraisal may sometimes be seen as a substitute of good management abilities.
Improving on performance appraisal
To enhance improvement of a performance appraisal system, Havard Business (2009) has detailed various factors that should be considered during the developmental phases. Objectivity, party involvement, program application, and training are highlighted as opinions that touch on the consideration factors. Harvard Business (2009) adds that taking subjectivity out of a purpose is one of the main obstacles that should be overcome. When an appraisal system is being developed, APCO (2001) explains on the importance of ensuring that that the topic characteristics and features define the categories of the objective rating. For instance, APCO (2001) insists that if there is a category addressing the timely reporting to work, the employee is either on time, early, or late. This definition is very simple and straightforward. There is no bias in the objective categories. APCO (2001) however insists that regardless of the design used in the system, there is a likelihood of the whole process resulting to be unsuccessful should there be a room for the assessor to become personal.
The first step in the performance appraisal is highlighted to be preparation of the materials, performance records, reports, and incidents among others (Armstrong & Madelyn, 2003). Most of these materials have been previously included in another performance appraisal or under the existing job description. In any good performance appraisal form, Armstrong and Madelyn (2003) note the importance of providing a good proceeding trend. For the organizations without a standard appraisal form, then they should locate one. Whatever the format that is to be used, the importance of ensuring that the organization has granted the necessary approval coupled with a clear understanding of its working (Drafke, 2006). To reflect the appraisal order, the paperwork should be well organized coupled with detailing the items that are to be comprehensively covered. If a feedback or self-assessment section is included in the appraisal form, this section should be submitted to the appraiser on time before the appraisal with clear detailing of the completion guidelines. Drafke (2006) also emphasizes on the importance of getting to know of the employees competencies outside their work. In these passions and talents, significant overlaps are usually contained. These overlaps also contain the behaviors, attributes, and maturity that may be valued and required at the workplace. These opportunities should be identified using personal knowledge. In addition, this process will inspire the whole person growth. Moulder (2001) insists that contrary to the commonly held assumptions, appraisals are not restricted to the job skills training and performance. They should in addition focus on how the “whole person” can be assisted to grow while attaining the success.
According to Aguinis (2009), the process of performance appraisal management is perceived to be versatile and complex. This process also incorporates the strategic goals and mission of the organization together with the pertinent data that directly pertains to the questionable job. A complete performance management should hence incorporate three steps, which are referred to as the performance management process components (Solie, 2002). Williams (2008) specifies these steps as planning, performance execution, and reviewing. Planning is the initial and double-phased stage that has the ability of improving the organizational and individual performance if well implemented (William, 2008). However, with a planning that is ineffective, the same author highlights the likelihood of detrimental effects to the organizational and individuals performance. Hence, Greenberg (2010) insists on the need to include goals, commitment to the goals, action plan development, and tracking the achievement towards the achievement of the goal.
Performance execution is enhanced when there is clear knowledge and understanding of the people in terms of what they are expected to do and required performance to meet the expectations. The cycle of performance management generates a simple account of the process of executing the process of performance management. For improvement on the performance appraisal, there is a need for allocation of responsibilities to the employees through which commitment, performance, and satisfaction is enhanced (Foot and Hook, 2005). In the performance assessment, Foot and Hook (2005) insist that the performance appraisal can be done by a specifically appointed person with familiarity to the responsibilities in the position and performance objectives. In addition, the same authors insist on the need to ensure that there is adequate opportunity to allow for observation of the employees job performance. This should be coupled with ensuring adequacy of ability and skills to enhance making distinctions between behaviors producing ineffective and effective performance at work. The figure 1 below presents an example of an appropriate performance appraisal addressing the important aspects that have been undermined by Employee Performance Solution (EPS).
In the performance review, the measurement is done on whether there is listing on the job description of the detailed person. According to Drafke (2006), there should be regular assessment of the individual performance of the worker because of various reasons. Among these reasons, the same author cites the need to identify the needs for training and development. In addition, this process is perceived to enhance quality on planning for the human resource in the organization.
This article establishes a good phase for performance appraisal development in an organization. As long as there is devotion of significant effort and time, the appraisal may prove to be of more good than harm to the organization. For any organization that contemplates to adopt a performance appraisal system, there is need to understand the various limitations and benefits that may accompany the decision. In every modern organization, there is dynamism and therefore consideration of the target objectives will be very important when deciding on the complexity of simplicity of the performance appraisal.
Amstrong, S., & Madelyn, A., 2003. Stress-free performance appraisals: turn your most painful management duty into a powerful motivational tool. Business & Economics, Career Press. Pp. 34-187
Armstrong, M., 2009. Armstrong’s Handbook of Performance Management: An Evidence-Based Guide to Delivering High Performance. San Fransisco: Kogan Page Publishers. Pp. 23-167
Aguinis, H., 2009. Performance management, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Alexon, D., 2002. Developing Performance Appraisal Program. Minnesota Fire Chief, 30 (3), 37-38.
APCO, 2001. Evaluations. Public Safety Communications, 67(5), 47-48.
Bacal, R., 2006. How to Manage Performance: 24 Lessons for Improving Performance: Mighty Managers Series, McGraw-Hill Professional, 128 p.
Bogard, D., 2000. Finding the right focus for evaluations, American Psychology Journal, 52(3), 39
Coens, T., & Jenkins, M., 2000. Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why the backfire and what to do instead. San Francisco, CA: Berret-Koehler.
Drafke, M., 2006. The human side of organizations, 9th ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Foot, M. & Hook, C., 2005. Introducing human resource management, 4th ed., Prentice Hall, Sydney.
Greenberg, J., 2010. Managing behavior in organizations, 5th ed., Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Grote, R., 2002. The performance appraisal question and answer book: a survival guide for
managers, AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. Pp. 120-213
Harvard Business, 2009. Performance Appraisal: Expert Solutions to Everyday Challenges. Harvard Business Press. Pp. 1-73
Moulder, E 2001, Performance appraisals for local government employees: Programs and
practices, Special Data Issue no. 1, Washington D.C.: International City/County
Schwartz, A., 2001. Performance Appraisal: Appraisal and Meeting, Andrew E Schwartz. Pp. 1-44
Solie, C., 2002. Performance appraisals: From meaningless to meaningful. Public Safety Communications, 68(30), 8-17.
Sugan, C., 2002. Performance Appraisal, Raj Publishing House. Pp. 89-123.
Terrence, H., 2004. Performance Appraisals. Retrieved On 15 September, 2011 from:
Williams, C., 2008. MGMT: principles of management, Student edition. Thomson South Western, Mason, USA.