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The objective of this document is to discuss the Performance Review Process and how it is or is not applied by DHL Worldwide Express. I will start by giving a general overview of the Performance Review process and then discuss in depth the process currently used by DHL. The performance of all staff but in particular that of key staff will determine how successful an organization will be. In order to ensure better performance from its staff most successful organizations have incorporated a Performance Review System on an ongoing basis.
A successful Performance Review System will have benefits for both the employee and the employer. The employee receives an opportunity for personal development and the employer receives better individual performance, which will help to achieve the overall objectives of the organizations. In order to ensure that the performance review system is viewed as a credible process, it is important for the management team to follow up on its commitment to the development of individuals.
A successful performance review system ensures that there is time set aside for direct communication between the employee and his / her boss, which is focused on the job itself and the performance of the individual within the job. This focused dialogue allows for the setting and agreeing of individual targets, which are aligned with the overall objectives of the organization. By having these regular performance review meeting it enables the employee and their manager to identify any problem that may affect them achieving their individual or the organizational objectives.
This review system also helps to lay plans for areas of personal or competency development, which are identified during the process. The provision of fair and honest feedback is key to the success of any performance review system. Without this feedback, it is more difficult to achieve the desired outcomes of the review system, which are improved performance and the development of the individual. DHL Worldwide Express is recognized as the global market leader within the air express industry. It is a member of the Deutsche Post World Net group of companies, which employs 350,000 people worldwide.
Adrian Dalsey (D), Larry Hillblom (H) and Robert Lynn (L) founded DHL in 1969. At the time not only did these men form a new company but they created a whole new industry – The Air Express Industry. Prior to this, the clearing documents for the cargo on board ships were actually sent with the cargo. This meant that when a ship docked it was only then that the clearing of the cargo could commence. What these entrepreneurs invented was the idea of flying the documents ahead of the ship and pre clearing the goods and thereby reducing the demurrage charges.
As the industry grew and developed other industries realised the benefits of sending documents and small shipments around the world by air i. e. banking, manufacturing and oil companies. As I have already stated, most successful organisations maximise the full benefits available from the performance review system and in this regard DHL is a perfect example. I have been employed by DHL for the past nine years and each year I have had a performance review with all my direct managers. I have always found these meetings extremely useful and in particularly useful in my own personal development.
The more recently used system has been the most effective and helpful. I have no doubt that this review system has helped me to further my own career within the organisation. Through this process I have moved from being a Customer Services agent based in Dublin to moving to Brussels to become the Global Print Procurement Manager for the Deutsche Post World Net group. The performance review system now used by DHL is a much more advanced system than the one used for my first review nine years ago. In those days it was very much a general chat about how you were doing the job.
The biggest weaknesses of the old review system were that it did not focus on any particular set of competencies which were required to do my job effectively, it was not used to set any clear objectives by which I would be measured. It was not used to make clear the overall organisational objectives and the part I had to play in helping to achieve these objectives. The final flaw in the old system was that it did not include the setting up of a personal development plan by which I could improve my own prospects.
As DHL is a very progressive organisation it is not surprising that the review system used today is a vast improvement on the one used in the past. The system used today follows a very specific format and has addressed the weaknesses of the previous system. The current performance review system is based on a process of discussion, negotiation and agreement. The review is carried out on an annual basis and would typically last for approximately two hours. It is part of the management incentive scheme for my boss to have all reviews completed by a specified date. This ensures that all reviews are carried out on a regular basis.
DHL is a competencies based organisation and therefore the starting point for the performance review meeting is that I receive a copy of the performance evaluation sheet, which lists the competencies identified as being required to do the job. The evaluation sheet also includes sections on goal setting, results from previous period and personal development plan, which includes training requirements. Both my boss and myself complete our copy of the evaluation sheet before our meeting. As part of the process my manager will distribute and receive back some 360-feedback questionnaires.
The completed questionnaires will also form part of our discussion. The review meeting takes the form of a very open, frank and informal discussion. The main focus of the meeting is to see how the completed evaluation sheets of manager and myself compare. Any differences in the grades awarded by my manager and myself are discussed and agreement is reached. It has been my experience that this has been a very fair process because my managers have been willing to change their grades if I put forward a valid argument. Likewise I must accept some lower grades if my manager has a justifiable reason for awarding this grade.
This negotiation process covers the areas of the competencies required to do the job effectively. It also covers the results of my last year’s performance against the objectives set at the last review meeting. The next stage of the discussion is the personal development plan. During this part of the process I am able to express any ambitions I may have and at the same time my manager would comment on what he feels would be the most appropriate next step for me to take in order to further my career. Part of the evaluation sheet requires my manager to document what type of roles I am suitable for i.
e. middle manager / senior manager positions. Any training requirements are discussed and agreed upon. It was at this stage in one of my previous reviews that I expressed my desire to undertake the BA (Mgmt) in the IMI and as you can see DHL have fully supported my request. It was also during one of my previous reviews when I expressed my desire to work abroad. Again with the support of my manager I was offered a three-month secondment in Brussels, which had lead to my current position. The only aspect that is not covered during the performance review process is salary.
Personally I feel that this is a good idea as it allows the meeting to be carried out in a very positive way and does not lead to it becoming a pay negotiation. Overall I am very happy with the performance review system, which is currently used by DHL. The only area I would like to see improved is for it to be carried out on a more frequent basis and not only once a year. I have also been very fortunate with the managers who have carried out my reviews as I feel that they have fully bought into the concept and have carried the meeting out in a very constructive and positive manner.
As I have already said there is a huge benefit to be gained by successfully using a performance review system and from my own personal experience I would be in total favour of one. Irrespective of the system used I feel a key component to the success of the system is how management implement the system. The success achieved by DHL is testament to the fact that if a, performance review system is fully implemented and managed correctly then the organisation as a whole will succeed. I would like to think that my own personal experience shows that there is huge potential for the personal development of the staff through this process.
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