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Performance evaluation is one area that requires a lot of fairness and keenness. Details of workers should be very clear. The entire workforce should be subjected to an evaluation that considers both the responsibilities of the individual on the one hand and those of the group on the other. In assessing the performance of the workers, the person doing the assessment should be fair and balanced so as to get accurate results that are not prejudicial to the workers. The accuracy of the results will assist the managers in knowing how effective the workers are in their job and it also assists in career guidance.
The police chief’s new performance and productivity plan has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that it is a result oriented approach as each police officer is evaluated on an individual performance basis and this bears fruit in increasing individual accountability and responsibility unlike in quantitative evaluation where the role of the individual is not considered.
It is very easy to know one’s effectiveness in the delivery of services or productivity when employees are evaluated individually rather that evaluation as a group.
The criteria for evaluating performance should be centered on developing performance standards gauge based on the individual responsibility and not he entire workforce altogether. This is qualitative approach in which the output of the worker serves as an indicator on whether they are effectively doing their work and whether they are doing this work to the required standards.
The police chief aims to make sure that no police officer idles around in the name of community policing and it also helps him sort out the ones who are not doing their work effectively.
This is why it is met with a lot of resistance and protests by those who have difficulties in keeping up with the proposed new working criteria which emphasizes accountability on individual basis. The position of the police chief is that one’s performance should be compared on a quantitative basis against that of the other workers in the same capacity or position. Although this criteria for evaluating performance is bound to be met with resistance in most cases, it is the most effective because it concentrates on productivity in an individual.
These criteria do not amount to improperly comparing workers along the areas of their duty, as workers may mostly mistake it. This bears fruit in ensuring that everybody in the work place puts a lot of effort in a bid to catch up with the rest and if possible the be the best, unlike the case with group evaluation where performance is evaluated in terms of the productivity of the entire group and management is not able know who the best performers are and those who are not performing satisfactorily.
The problem with this approach is that conflicts are bound to arise over duplication of duties. In a work environment like the police force and other similar organizations where there is no clear difference between individual and collective duty and responsibility, confusion will arise over which officer should perform a particular duty and this is likely to interfere with the way operations are carried out. Managers who find themselves in a situation like this should be awake to some vital aspects of human resources practices, mainly classification and rewards.
An employee who emerges as the best performer may be given non-financial rewards so as to avoid a scenario where everybody is rushing to the same area in order to gain recognition. Promotion is another option. The main problem with this approach is that it helps create antagonism in the workplace and workers are not able to coordinate and have a unity of purpose. This will only result in unaccomplished tasks. There should be set goals that will form the basis for the of the employee’s performance evaluation.
The need for evaluating the employee as well as skill development should be identified. The management should help the employees in learning their strengths, preferences and aptitudes so as to form a justifiable basis for a fair performance evaluation. Workers mostly like being evaluated as a group rather than as Individuals. The areas on which to be evaluated should be well defined and the expectations for each worker clearly spelt out.
This helps in making the person being evaluated aware of what duties are expected to be performed by them (Reeves).. Evaluation on an individual basis is the best and indeed it is the one corporate America uses. It is very easy to sort out the unproductive employees because in this method the case of numbers is not considered but the individual responsibility and the results the employee delivers. Evaluating employees basing on groups has its advantages.
The police chief may not have preferred this method because the nature of the work of the police dictates group work and therefore some lazy elements may take advantage of this and hide behind others while doing nothing at all while at the end of the day they end up getting credit for having done nothing. As a result, they continue getting undue rewards and sometimes promotions for positions they do not even qualify for. It however helps in motivating employees and the spirit of teamwork is upheld for more productivity or better provision of services.
Evaluating workers individually can be counterproductive because those who can not keep up with the set standards of work or can not meet the criteria for evaluation may get even worse instead of improving due to demoralization. It is also based on standards set by people, for example managers, who do not even know the employees personally and therefore do dot know the workers’ abilities and inabilities (Klinger, & Nalbandian, 2003). Before the criteria and standards for evaluation are set, it requires that the capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of the one to be evaluated are known.
Generally, the two methods of evaluation are good in some way because some departments require a specific type so a combination of the two is the best. The best system for the Los Angeles Police is total quality management. Emphasis should be on the performance of the entire group and not an individual. The disadvantages of taking the method of the police chief is because as has always been the case, no police officer can function in isolation and therefore whether the officers are evaluated as an individual or as a group, they are required to work together as a team.
The method of performance evaluation on an individual basis should apply mostly to the senior police because they are the heads of smaller groups which function as one entity. By so doing the police heads will be hard pressed to ensure their juniors, who are well known to them, performs to their best even when in a team.
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