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Performance Appraisal

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1.0 Introduction

According to Baird (1992, 143), performance appraisal is the process of identifying, measuring and developing human performance. Performance appraisal system must accurately measure how well an employee is performing and at the same time contains mechanisms for reinforcing strengths, identifying deficiencies and feeding such information to employees so that they can enhance future performance (Baird 1992, 143). Nowadays organisations want to have the best employees. For this purpose, employees are well choose, well coached and well developed (Forte 2009, 3). Performance appraisal helps the organisation to find out if they had chosen the best employees and gives insight how to enhance their performance.

Roger supervises a crew of workers. He got to evaluate the performance of his crew semi-annually. However, while performing the evaluation, Roger made some mistakes which are a cause for concern for the HR manager Leon Ottorbrino. This report emphasizes on the importance and uses of performance appraisal. After that, the weaknesses of Roger are identified and recommendations are made so that these mistakes are not repeated again.

2.0 Importance of Performance Appraisal

As organisations carry out performance appraisal annually or semi-annually, this shows that performance appraisal is a vital process for many firms. The most important reason for having performance appraisal is to monitor employees' performance. When employees know that their performance is being monitored and that they will be rewarded with merit increases and promotions, they will be motivated to work harder. Additionally, morale is improved when employees receive recognition for the good work they have done (Lawrence 2004).

Moreover, the performance appraisal program is designed in such a way that it will assist the company in achieving its goals and objectives. Through the performance appraisal, area requiring training will be identified. As employees will receive training, this will help them to be more effective and efficient at their workplace. Employees will be able to better serve customers. A well-developed staff is more likely to be proactive, productive and resourceful. This will therefore enable the company to make higher profits as the company will have a competitive edge in terms of employees (Lawrence 2004).

Many firms consider internal staff to be better placed for succession. Therefore, the performance appraisal will help to search for the best employees in the organisation. The high potential individuals will be prepared for advancement to new positions. By having access to important sources of employee informations from the appraisals and combining it with the work requirements is vital for practitioners when developing a strategic HR program (The importance of maintaining performance appraisal and succession planning records 2008).

3.0 Uses of Performance Appraisal

The appraisal of employees is important because it indicates how effectively they execute their tasks. Performance appraisals provide important information to managers. This section will identify some of the various uses of performance appraisals.

3.1 Performance improvement

Feedback about performance offers the employee, management, and the human resources specialist the opportunity to take important steps to improve performance (Gerber, Nel and Van Dyk 1998, 172). This is because the cost of keeping the underperforming staff gives a wrong signal to motivated and high performing employees (Stone 2006, 297). Additionally, Stone (2006, 297) claimed that the employees performing well want to be recognized by the organisation.

3.2 Remuneration adjustments

The performance appraisals indicate the Human Resource Manager which employees are eligible for an increase in pay (Gerber, Nel and Van Dyk 1998, 172). The objective of a valid and reliable performance appraisal is that hard working employees receive higher rewards and lesser performers receive small remunerations. This will help to create performance oriented behaviour and culture (Stone 2006, 299). The General Electric CEO Jack Welsh states: "If your company is managing people well, it tightly aligns good performance with rewards. The better you do, the more you get - and you get it both in the soul and in the wallet" (Welch 2005, 107).

3.3 Training

Poor performance may indicate that training is required whereas good performance indicates potential that should be enhanced further (Gerber, Nel and Van Dyk 1998, 172). Stone (2006, 299) claims: "Performance improvement comes about by building on strengths and overcoming weaknesses." The manager's job is to remove blocks to employee performance and to help each employee to grow and develop (Stone 2006, 299).

3.4 Faulty task design

A task which is not well design might be the result of poor performance. This weakness can be identified through a performance appraisal (Gerber, Nyl and Van Dyk 1998, 173). It may happen that an organisation has employed the best employee based on his/her qualifications. However, the employee is not performing to the required expectations because the job is not properly designed. In this case, the performance appraisal will serve as a means to identify the problem.

3.5 External factors

It may be possible that employee performance is affected by factors outside the job context such as family, health, financial or personal problems. Performance appraisal may help to identify these factors and enable management to give the necessary support to the employee (Gerber, Nyl and Van Dyk 1998, 173).

4.0 Identification of weaknesses

Roger, the supervisor of a maintenance crew for the Main Roads Department of Western Australia, had made some mistakes when carrying out the performance appraisal for the crew. This section outlines Roger's weaknesses by applying theoretical concepts.

4.1 Perceives the performance appraisal as burden

Roger was glad that he had completed the performance appraisal of his crew and he smiled. Additionally, as there were plenty of works to be carried out, Leon insisted that the performance appraisal forms should be submitted immediately (ref). These facts show that the performance evaluation was a burden for Roger. When performance appraisal seems to be a burden, then managers do what is known as 'tick and flick', that is, tick the boxes and flick the form as soon as possible. Therefore, instead of boosting performance and strengthening teamwork, it creates



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