November 29, 2005

Performance Appraisal

Victor R. Buzzotta the setter of American Psychological Associates said that, the effective performance appraisal does nothing with how perfectly the table is designed, but about people themselves. The appraisal should focus on creating an effective communication opportunity, while may take table as reference only.

People really want to know how their managers or other colleges think about their previous performance; what need to improve and how to achieve success. The process of appraisal is about negotiation between appraiser and appraisee, not for managers to ask people question only. If managers want to give a correct direction and coach people for what is expected to be done, by knowing what people are doing, they??d better to offer an open informal discussion. It enables people to do self-assessment on how they think their performance so far. Then based on the staff??s self-assessment, managers can give some suggestions about what good or bad things that staffs themselves have not recognised, and how far their performance is away from the target. In other words, appraiser??s job is to help staff to identify the areas of improvement and the direction to develop the performance in the future in the line with organisation??s goal or strategy.

Furthermore, making the feedback more useful and less threatening to people is an option to replace performance appraisal. Similarly, an informal feedback is suggested from people not in the managing position. People seem to buy in more from a friendly advice paper than a criticism report. Of course, a proper training should be arranged by organisations to help staff developing their skills and knowledge and coping with problems.

Organisations tend to develop a perfect reward system to motivate people. Personal view, all of the reward systems suggested in the notes have unfair issues. For instance, pay for age system. Sometimes age means nothing. The length of service does not always indicate the level of skills and knowledge (it might be related to experience). I consider money as an important motivator for many people, but it is not the only and most important one. If people think money is the most important motivator, sometimes they will try to get the monetary reward by fair means or foul. If people are motivated by money, then the reward system might not be working well as expected. Therefore, some non-monetary rewards methods are suggested to meet people??s need of, for example, self-esteem and self-actualisation defined in Maslow??s hierarchy of needs.

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