Performance Appraisal Methods
Methods of basic appraisal are techniques applied by human resource departments or generally employers to assess the performance of their employees. The basic methods are used in different way depending on the method being used. In most cases, the methods used focus on the performance of the employees in relation to the skills, ability, knowledge or any other established scale of appraising performance. The employers choose the basis with which the employees are appraised. There exist about seven basic appraisal methods; paired comparison, graphic rating scales, alternation ranking technique, management by objectives, forced distribution method, critical incident method and the BARS. Each of these methods can be used to assess employee performance in different ways and circumstances.
The critical incident method of appraisal is a basic technique of employee appraisal where the employer establishes a predetermined interval of times they will appraise the employee. The next stage involves establishing a record where wrong doings or any undesirable trait of the employee in relation to their work is noted. Finally, the employer reviews the noted misbehaviors and undesirable traits against the predetermined times. In case the number of incidents recorded is higher than the predetermined times, the employee is performing poorly.
The merits of this technique are that the method is easy to conduct since you only need to compare the incidents against a predetermined number of times. However, the criterion of predetermining the number of times is difficult to establish. Furthermore, the procedure is time consuming since one has to observe every activity of the employee being appraised. This method can be used when appraising junior employees in an organization because it helps compare their performance to the management’s expectations.
Management by objectives is another desirable appraisal approach where managers establish predetermined objectives for every employee. The manager would then have periodical meeting with every employee to assess their progress in achieving the targets. This method is very effective since managers interact with employees closely to assess performance and give them guidance on how to best attain the goals. Furthermore, the appraisal method helps in the realization of organizational goals as well as individual ones. However, the method may be cumbersome for big organizations where managers cannot meet with every employee to assess their individual performances. This appraisal method is best suited for junior level employees who work under the guidance of middle level managers. This way the manager can discuss organizational ad departmental objectives and define desirable results to all workers. Periodically, they would hold performance review sessions to determine the progress achieved.
Performance management is where individuals’ performance is identified, developed and measured continuously. Furthermore, teams in the organization keep aligning their performances with the objectives of the organization. In this technique, individuals and departments share the direction they are taking to ensure they are pursuing same goals. They then align their objectives to those of the organization. Meanwhile, performances of departments and individuals are monitored continuously and feedback relayed immediately. The organization’s development and coaching team work to improve their employees. The final stage of this method includes recognition, rewards and compensation.
This method is efficient because it ensures the objectives of employees and those of the organization are aligned and they are updated often. However, like in many organizations, this method can be marred by bias in appraisals, leniency and at times the standards or measurements are unclear. This method of job appraisal works best both junior and middle level jobs in technical is and business organizations where organizational objectives change from time to time.
In a performance evaluation conducted earlier on, employees were rated then compared to their colleagues on every trait. This was the paired comparison approach. However, this method did not contribute much in helping employees improve their performance. The comparison with colleagues meant that there were loopholes for leniency, bias and unclear standards of appraisal in the whole process. The organization had to change their system of employee appraisal to help nurture and motivate their employees to perform efficiently.
Therefore, basic appraisal methods are important when organizations want to assess employee performance, motivate employees and align employee objectives to the organizational goals. Not all basic appraisal techniques are efficient since some are prone to errors like lenience, bias and unclear standards of measurement.
DelPo, A. (2007). The Performance Appraisal Handbook: Legal & Practical Rules for Managers (2 revised ed.). London: Nolo.
Dessler, G. (2011). A Framework for Human Resources Management (6th edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Edwards, J., Scott, J. C., & Raju, N. S. (2003). The human resources program-evaluation handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Grote, R. C. (2002). The Performance Appraisal Question and Answer Book: A Survival Guide for Managers (illustrated ed.). New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.