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Performance appraisal objectives

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I. Contents of getting performance appraisal objectives

Well-conducted and written performance appraisals are among some of the most effective tools
for managing and developing people, but the skills of writing and conducting a good appraisal do
not always come naturally to HR managers. A well-written appraisal is, in fact, a synopsis of
what has been happening in the organization on a continuous basis, and gives managers a clear
picture of areas that have been successful and areas which need improvement. It also helps to
create a firm action plan for the next year, giving employees tangible goals and objectives. A
good appraisal should be a fair, objective, and a two-way process. Performance appraisal also has
to be realistic, clear, continuous, and specific. A good performance appraisal does not compare
employees with each other because this can damage their morale and create competition among
employees, which will almost certainly be detrimental to teamwork. Performance appraisals
should be primarily about improvement and development, rather than blame for failures during
the appraisal period. Any serious issues that occur should be dealt with at the time waiting until
the appraisal to bring such issues up is leaving it too late. Focusing on the negative in appraisals
is going to make employees feel nervous about the process it should be viewed by all parties as
a way of summarising the last year, and forming an action plan for the year to come. In addition,
the appraisal process provides a guarantee that efforts made by the employee are not overlooked.
Keeping notes throughout the appraisal period
Try not to think of staff appraisals as a once-a-year event, but rather a continuous process of
monitoring and feedback. Throughout the appraisal period, it is vital that you keep a record of
employee incidents, both positive and negative. This will form the basis of any appraisal, and
give you accurate, factual material to work with. Through this approach, you can present a

summary of what has been happening during the entire appraisal period, rather than focusing in
on the last few weeks or on any one specific event, thereby making the process fair and balanced.
You should also encourage your employees to keep their own records of their working
experiences during the appraisal period. This can include successes and challenges, as well as
any areas for concern that they may wish to bring up. This employee input is vital for letting you
know what the employee considers important, and whether you have been communicating
priorities to them effectively. It also gives the employee a chance to air any matters that may
have been concerning them it is important that they feel comfortable in the appraisal
environment to do this and are aware that this is a two-way process. Ultimately, this will help
ensure an accurate, fair appraisal.effective_appraisal2
The environment in which to conduct an appraisal
You should conduct the appraisal in a neutral, non-threatening environment. It is important that
there are no interruptions during the meeting this may be your only chance this year to spend
one-on-one time with an employee and have some proper dialogue, so you should treat the
occasion as important. Do not constantly re-schedule appraisals as your diary fills with more
important appointments this will lead to the employee feeling insignificant and unvalued and
they may lose respect for you and the organisation. The individual attention you give an
employee during this meeting will make them feel their contribution to the organisation is
valued, and will encourage them to continue making a positive contribution over the coming
It is important that you have developed an atmosphere of transparency and that the employee
feels comfortable in approaching you with any issues they may be experiencing. In order to do
this, you should make sure that you do not spring any surprises on the employee during the
appraisal and that throughout the working year you are approachable and reasonable. You will
have a better relationship with your staff if they feel that you have time to listen to what they say
and that you value their input. If an appraisal is viewed as a two-way discussion, dealing with
development and potential rather than focusing on negative points then the employee is far more
likely to be open and communicative. Any criticism should be constructive and fact based, and
any negatives viewed as challenges for the year ahead, and suggestions for improvement.
Making appraisals more personal by using a range of vocabulary
If you have many staff to appraise, you may fall into the trap of saying very similar things about
a lot of them. This can feel like a production line process, both for the staff and for you, and
therefore not achieve what you are aiming for open and productive dialogue. Develop a range
of expressions and varied vocabulary for the appraisal process. For example acceptable, fair, and
suitable all mean much the same thing.
Keeping things specific rather than vague (use examples and facts)

Use factual wording so that you concentrate on observed behaviours rather than on personality.
Instead of Lee has performed poorly, write, Lees performance has been below standard in the
area of customer service, with 5 complaints regarding the speed of his responses having been
received in the last year (cite examples). He needs to ensure that his response time is reduced to a
level where no further complaints about this are received. To achieve this, Lee should take part in
a customer service training course over the next weeks. Here you are being specific about
incidents, as well as recommending a target for the future and the best course of action to follow
in order to achieve this.
effective_appraisal3This same approach should be used for both achievements and challenges.
Language used in appraisals should always be as impersonal as possible, certainly avoiding any
petty, carping or prejudiced comments about the individual. Focus on what key accomplishments
they have made and what areas can be improved rather than being too general or vague.
Specific wording keeps employees focused on objectives and gives them something concrete to
latch on to in order to improve or maintain performance. Finally, specific, accurate wording
protects the company in the unlikely (but possible) event of legal proceedings.
Maintaining clarity
It is important that you are clear and specific in your meaning when writing an appraisal. This
leaves no room for confusion or uncertainty on the part of the employee as to areas for
improvement in the upcoming period.
The way you organise the layout of the written appraisal will affect how much the employee
understands and gains from it. Use effective page layout techniques to reveal logic and
Create tables and graphic presentations that work and make sense.
Do not use meaningless or unnecessary graphics.
Eliminate common writing and usage errors to make the reports more professional.
Use appraisal terminology and definitions effectively.

Specify clear objectives and areas for improvement for the next year, with an action plan to
achieve these. Make sure that you define how accomplishments will be measured. Set a date for
completion of objectives. Make sure paragraphs and sentences are logically staged and not
overlong. Create energetic prose by the use of active voice and present tense. When writing
action plans for development needs keep an immediate or short-term focus.
Negative staff appraisals

Inevitably, there are times when you have to give negative feedback, if an employee has been
under-performing or consistently failing to meet objectives. Unless it is your intention to lose this
member of staff, you need to phrase your criticisms in such a way that they convey meaning
without causing offense, loss of face or undue upset remember that the appraisal should be
viewed as a summary of the last year, and a way of making an action plan for the year to come,
rather than a forum for giving employees a dressing down. As has already been stated,
disciplinary matters need to be dealt with at the time, rather than weeks or months later, and the
appraisal should not concentrate solely on negative points. One method of achieving professional
use of tactful negative language is as follows:
Although the skills for conducting and writing a successful appraisal may not come naturally,
they are fairly easy to learn and to implement. Moreover, as a tool for staff management and
successful business practice, they are essential; they are the easiest way of identifying problems
and solutions, planning the year ahead, identifying employee strengths and weaknesses, ensuring
staff feel valued and appreciated, and highlighting any gaps in training or knowledge. They
should leave both the manager and employee feeling confident in the year ahead, and with a
clear picture of what is expected and how to achieve that. In doing this, both staff and
management can concentrate on the main job at hand, growing and maintaining a successful

III. Performance appraisal methods

1. Essay Method
In this method the rater writes down the employee
description in detail within a number of broad categories
like, overall impression of performance, promoteability
of employee, existing capabilities and qualifications of
performing jobs, strengths and weaknesses and training
needs of the employee. Advantage It is extremely
useful in filing information gaps about the employees
that often occur in a better-structured checklist.
Disadvantages It its highly dependent upon the writing
skills of rater and most of them are not good writers.

They may get confused success depends on the memory

power of raters.

2. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales

statements of effective and ineffective behaviors
determine the points. They are said to be
behaviorally anchored. The rater is supposed to
say, which behavior describes the employee
performance. Advantages helps overcome rating
errors. Disadvantages Suffers from distortions
inherent in most rating techniques.

3. Rating Scale
Rating scales consists of several numerical scales
representing job related performance criterions such as
dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc.
Each scales ranges from excellent to poor. The total
numerical scores are computed and final conclusions are
derived. Advantages Adaptability, easy to use, low cost,
every type of job can be evaluated, large number of
employees covered, no formal training required.
Disadvantages Raters biases

4. Checklist method

Under this method, checklist of statements of traits of

employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is
prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or
checking and HR department does the actual evaluation.
Advantages economy, ease of administration, limited
training required, standardization. Disadvantages Raters
biases, use of improper weighs by HR, does not allow
rater to give relative ratings

5.Ranking Method
The ranking system requires the rater to rank his
subordinates on overall performance. This consists in
simply putting a man in a rank order. Under this method,
the ranking of an employee in a work group is done
against that of another employee. The relative position of
each employee is tested in terms of his numerical rank. It
may also be done by ranking a person on his job
performance against another member of the competitive
Advantages of Ranking Method
Employees are ranked according to their
performance levels.
It is easier to rank the best and the worst
Limitations of Ranking Method
The whole man is compared with another
whole man in this method. In practice, it is very difficult
to compare individuals possessing various individual
This method speaks only of the position where an

employee stands in his group. It does not test anything

about how much better or how much worse an employee
is when compared to another employee.
When a large number of employees are working,
ranking of individuals become a difficult issue.
There is no systematic procedure for ranking
individuals in the organization. The ranking system does
not eliminate the possibility of snap judgements.

6. Critical Incidents Method

The approach is focused on certain critical behaviors of
employee that makes all the difference in the
performance. Supervisors as and when they occur record
such incidents. Advantages Evaluations are based on
actual job behaviors, ratings are supported by
descriptions, feedback is easy, reduces recency biases,
chances of subordinate improvement are high.
Disadvantages Negative incidents can be prioritized,
forgetting incidents, overly close supervision; feedback
may be too much and may appear to be punishment.

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