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Performance appraisal Essay

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Performance appraisal has been one of the most-debated management practices for several decades. It has generated a wide variety of viewpoints. There are those who see performance appraisal as making an important contribution to human resource management, in that organizations require systematic information on how well employees are performing in their jobs as a key element in ensuring that human resources are used as effectively as possible. Employees at all levels experience a need to know clearly what they should be doing and what is expected of them in terms of quantity and quality of output.

In addition most people want to be in a position where they can perform better next time around.

A number of writers, especially during the 1970s, expressed pessimistic views about the future of performance appraisal schemes, and the assumptions on which they are based. Some have tended to write off conventional versions of performance appraisal as backward, simplistic and even counterproductive, arguing that conventional appraisal processes often lead both the manager and employee to approach the performance review with dysfunctional role stereotypes.

The employee expects to hear what is wrong with his or her performance, while the manger expects to have to well the evaluation to a reluctant and possibly hostile member of staff. (Gordon Anderson 1996)

In this case study, it present the issues that caused Xerox Company emerged as a result of their research. In a word, it is all about change. It is talking about the linked issues of visibility and growth, and the compelling need for a process or model to deal with the problems of increasing effectiveness in the midst of all the change. I discuss changing attitudes and HRD political relevance, and present evidence of concern for HRD effectiveness.

In Xerox appraisal new system they use “Mulit-appraisal” which is 360-degree Appraisal. The limitations of conventional performance appraisal in placing considerable, and sometimes total, emphasis on the judgment of the employee’s manager have been identified and discussed by a number of writers. A pioneering study carried out a number of years ago in Gulf Oil, and described by Stinson and Stokes (1980), highlights an alternative, multi-rater method, which overcomes a number of the deficiencies of conventional, manager-orientated appraisal. Probably the most significant development likely to influence the nature of performance appraisal in the future is the shift away from conventional appraisals undertaken typically by line managers towards the concept of 360-degree appraisal. The concept builds on multi-appraisal and refers to a situation where appraisal data is collected ” all around” an employee, from his or her manager, subordinates, peers and customers, internal and external.

A number of factors are encouraging organizations to introduce, or to seriously consider the introduction of, 360-degree appraisal. These include:

ØFlatter, less hierarchical, more flexible, team-based organization structures;

ØAwareness of the limited perspective of managers;

ØRecognition of the value of contributions from other sources;

ØThe advantage of a range of perspectives, given the increasingly complex roles many people play in organization.

In research identified the need for building and maintaining close relationships with line and staff management as essential for a successful HRD organization. It is really depend on the organization and communication processes. A wide range of methods and criteria for appraising performance is used by organizations. The various ways of measuring performance stem directly form the different components of performance. We can see in the new system of Xerox, they are: Simple ranking, using this system the appraiser is called upon to make a judgment about the general level of the performance of each employee. Based on the appraiser ranks each employee from best to worst. Alternate ranking, this process involves a number of stages. While this approach may have some advantages in determining the ratings, it
suffers from the same defects as the simple ranking approach. The HRD Function In effective HRD functions, staff development is built in to the annual operating plan as a requirement. It is not only supported by management, but also seen as essential to the continued effective operation of the HRD function, and adequate funding supports it.

Another one is Feedback, It tells employees, “How am I doing?” and “Where do I go from here?” How would you like to be a member of a bowling team and go bowling every week, but only get your scores once a year? Coaching is the day-to-day effort to review work, answer questions, discuss progress (or lack of it) toward meeting standards, develop skills, and provide positive guidance. Is the supervisor the only person who can provide coaching to an employee? Coworkers, other supervisors, and even customers can often be in a good position to compare the employee’s performance to established standards and then give helpful feedback.

As the articles shown that the core of any organization is its staff. Without workers, who is going to do the job? How come the goal is going to achieve? How effectively an organization maintains a quality team of employees is linked to its ability to manage its staff and recognize the contributions of each player. Effective performance management systems enable an organization to objectively and systematically rate employee performance, while providing the tools necessary to take that performance level and equate it to compensation actions. Employees have always expressed the desire for open feedback regarding their performance. More and more companies are embracing the pay for performance concept and its tie to compensation. A well-executive performance management plan enables an organization to achieve critical goals:

ØRecognize the efforts and contributions of current staff

ØReward staff with compensation directly linked to performance

ØMotivate staff to improve performance

ØOrient staff towards goal achievement

ØRetain key employees through the use of competitive compensation programs

ØAttract quality employees with an effective performance management system

A necessary condition for the effective management of performance appraisal systems in any organization is the need to clarify and communicate to all concerned the objectives which the system is intended to achieve. Typically, performance appraisal schemes are expected to serve multiple objectives. This can often be strength in that several purposes can be achieved, but I can also prove to be a disadvantage if it leads to a dissipation of effort and lack of focus. It is obviously of crucial importance, and everyone in an organization especially the key decision makers should be fully aware precisely what objectives the system of performance appraisal is expected to achieve, and the priorities within these objects.

Performance appraisal should lead to the identification of the training and development needs of employees. Indeed, it can be argued that without an appraisal scheme, it would be only accidental if training and development efforts were aimed in the right direction (Anderson 1980). Performance appraisal, by providing feedback to employees on job performance, creates a basis for improvement and development.

The developmental function of appraisal is concerned with improving the performance of people by identifying areas for improvement, setting performance targets for the future, and agreeing plans for follow up action. This aspect also involves developing the capacity of people through formulation plans to develop their skills and careers, and helping individuals to reconcile their job and career aspirations with opportunities available in the organization.

Furthermore, there is certain amount of overlap between the evaluative and development functions, in that the evaluation of past performance will often be an important influence upon the setting of future targets. Brinkerhoff and Kanter (1980) contend that this function is both backward looking in the sense of evaluating past performance so as to establish standards and forward looking in that the established standards serve as incentives for future performance improvement through generating peer competition and the desire to best one’s won past record.

The argue further that an additional overlapping, but also overarching, purpose for performance appraisal is to ensure that managers are performing a critical management function. Managers should be paying careful attention to the assessment of the past performance of their staff against organizational requirements, and to the development of greater productivity of the human resources available. This function of performance of performance appraisal of encouraging careful and systematic approaches in assessing the performance of employees is of great importance for practicing managers, and they often recognize its value.

The possible conflict between the evaluative and developmental dimensions has been much discussed in the appraisal literature. The central issue appears to be: can the manager, acting as appraiser, effectively be both judge and helper without experiencing role conflict? Since future decisions must be based, at least in part, on evaluations of previous behavior, it could be argued that this conflict is superficial rather than real, and that an effective manager should be about to cope effectively with both roles.

When we looked further at the issue of growth. The Conference Board, in a study of trends in corporate education and training, found that the number of training professionals had increased in nearly two-thirds of the firms surveyed. The board cited the following as evidence of the enhanced role and status of HRD in many companies:

ØManagement has become convinced that education drives the business.

ØA stepchild until recently, the training function is now seen as essential to the company’s strategic goals.

ØDeveloping our people is now the heart of our business strategy.

ØTraining departments used to be wiped out by recessions, but few were in the recent one (Lusterman, 1985, p.2).

Affecting the growth of HRD is the increase in the overall number of jobs and the shifts from sectors such as manufacturing to service organizations. Newly created jobs require new skills training and workers being displaced need retraining. In addition, more workers are coming to expect training as part of the normal job environment, and will demand it if they don’t see it. This is especially true in high technology, where employees want to stay on the leading edge-they can’t afford not to.

The negative factors are:

ØPossible distortion due to popularity factors influencing peers;

ØPossible negative reactions towards those who irrespective of this performance, are seen as unorthodox, inclined to challenge existing practices, and therefore perceived as threatening;

ØFriendship rating;

ØDistortions due to fear of retaliation;

ØReliance of peers on stereotypes in making evaluation.

Despite the risks evident from the number of possible negative factors, peer review may well have an increasing role to play in performance appraisal systems of the future, especially in non-hierarchical, team-based organizational structures in which peers are willing to give objective evaluations of one another’s performance, and where peers interact sufficiently frequently to be able to develop an informed view of the performance of colleagues.


Appraisal of employees tasks place whether a formal appraisal system is in operation or not. In small companies, formal systems are probably unnecessary; in larger companies, a formal system goes some way towards ensuring that decisions based upon judgments of employee performance are fair and just. However, the mere installation of an appraisal scheme does not ensure that appraisals are well founded. There are a large number of human tendencies towards error that must be recognized by those conducting appraisal. This recognition and ways to overcome the problems are best achieved through training.

The appraisal of performance is useless unless the results of the appraisal are translated into action. This is the purpose of the appraisal interview. It is a mechanism for feedback of information to employees, and an opportunity for employees and their superiors to sit down and plan remedial action. Appraisal interviews involving problem solving, counseling and joint objective setting are essential components of a successful appraisal scheme.


French,W. Human Resources Management 4th Edition, Houghton Miffin co, Boston, 1998.

Graham, H.T, Human Resources Management, recruitment and selection, Britain ,1983.

Leslie W. Rue, Ph.D., Lioyd L. Byors, Ph.D, Management skills and Application recruitment and selection, Australia,1997.

Pearson, R., The Human Resources , Managing people and work, Australia, 1990.

Kramar, R, Mcgraw, P& Schuler, R. S., Human Resources Management in Australia. Longman. South Melbourne, 1997.

Parry, K. W., Smith, D., Human Resources Management. USQ Press. Queensland, 1998.

Dessler, Griffiths, Lloyd- Walker, Williams, Human Resources Management, Prentice Hall, Australia, 1999.

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