Traditional performance appraisals, as discussed above, can be both subjective and simplistic. At times, they can also be deemed to be ³political´. In an attempt to improve this methodology, some companies have turned to 360-degree appraisals. 360 appraisals pool feedback from a department¶s internal and external customers to ensure a broader, more accurate perspective of an employee¶s performance. 360-degree performance appraisal is an attempt to answer the question: ³How can a supe rvisor evaluate an employee he or she sees only a few hours each week?´
Using internal and external clients
360-degree performance appraisals offer an alternative by which organizations may gain more useful performance information about employees. Because all clients/customers an employee comes into contact with can conceivably have input into the performance appraisal, this methodology can also makes them more accountable to their customers. Using a courtroom metaphor, one could say that, rather than having a single person play judge, a 360-degree appraisal acts more like a jury. People who actually deal with the employee each day have an opportunity to create a pool of information from which the appraisal is written. Internal clients may include supervisors, subordinates, co-workers, and representatives from other departments. External customers may include clie nts, suppliers, consultants and customers.
Given the use of a wide variety of sources for information in the 360-appraisal process, this method provides a broader view of the employee¶s performance. Frequently, the employee on whom the appraisal is being done (the ratee) will feel that the process is more fair.
Very often, an employee¶s peers know their behaviors best. Consequently, employees cannot hide as easily in 360-degree appraisals.
360-degree appraisal enables an employee to compare his or her own perceptions of their work performance with the perception of others. As such, the method facilitates employee selfdevelopment. Feedback from one¶s peers is more likely to lead to changed behaviors.
Accountability to customers
A 360-degree appraisal process provides a formalized communication link between the employee being evaluated and their customers. These people now have feedback into the employee¶s performance rating. As such, the process is likely to make the employee more accountable to his or her various internal and external customers. Furthermore, organizations can also use this feedback to create more customer-oriented goals for the following year.
The raters: how many and who?
One issue employers must solve in implementing a 360-degree appraisal program is determining how many raters should be involved. Next, the organization must decide who should do the rating. Generally speaking, less than five raters limits the perspective while more than ten raters is likely to make the appraisal system complex and time consuming. A firm would be well advised to develop a workable definition of what constitutes a peer, an internal customer, an external customer, a supervisor, etc. For example, to be useful, the customer ought to be one who has significant interactions with the ratee.
Some organizations permit the ratee to develop a list of key internal and external customers that he or she interacts with. The ratee then recommends five to ten of these individuals to serve as raters. In this process, the supervisor still retains the ultimate responsibility for the appraisal and therefore ensures that appropriate raters are selected. The ratee is thus prevented from stacking the deck with supportive customers. Another option has the raters selected at random from the ratee¶s team by a computer generated system. Those selected are then notified by E-mail to participate in the appraisal.
Limitations on the use of external clients
An organization contemplating the use of the 360-degree process must keep in mind that reviewing that organization¶s employees¶ performance is not the customer¶s business. To ensure the customers¶ cooperation, the process should be a mutually beneficial process. Furthermore, the various external customers would ideally evaluate the ratee only on the behaviors or work incidents that they have directly observed. This, of course, also holds for internal raters.
Summarizing the data
Once all raters have supplied their appraisals, the employee¶s supervisor is generally responsible for summarizing the data and determining the final performance rating. After summarizing the data, the supervisor conducts the formal appraisal interview with the ratee. Another variation of the summary process makes the ratee responsible for summarizing the feedback data from the raters. The ratee then submits a summary analysis to his or her supervisor. The ratee and the supervisor then meet to determine the ratee¶s final performance rating and development plan.
Organizations must decide whether the feedback from the various raters should be kept anonymous or be identified to the employee. Sometimes raters give fuzzy feedback because of the fear that the feedback might come back to them. One rule rule might be that no rater can give negative feedback in the appraisal unless that rater has previously given the feedback directly to the ratee. Most organizations should start with a policy of confidentiality until sufficient understanding, maturity and organizational trust is achieved. Performance appraisal may be defined as a structured formal interaction between a subordinate and supervisor, that usually takes the form of a periodic interview (annual or semi-annual), in which the work performance of the subordinate is examined and discussed, with a view to identifying weaknesses and strengths as well as opportunities for improvement and skills development. In many organizations ± but not all ± appraisal results are used, either directly or indirectly, to help determine reward outcomes. That is, the appraisal results are used to identify the better performing employees who should get the majority of available merit pay increases, bonuses, and promotions. By the same token, appraisal results are used to identify the poorer performers who may require some form of counseling, or in extreme cases, demotion, dismissal or decreases in pay. (Organizations need to be aware of laws in their country that might restrict their capacity to dismiss employees or decrease pay.) Whether this is an appropriate use of performance appraisal ± the assignment and justification of rewards and penalties ± is a very uncertain and contentious matter.
The major objectives of performance appraisal are;
y Salary Increase: Performance appraisal plays a role in making decision about salary increase. Normally salary increase of an employee depends upon on how he is performing his job. There is
continuous evaluation of his performance either formally or informally. This may disclose how well an employee is performing and how much he should be compensated by way of salary increase. y Promotion: Performance appraisal plays significant role where promotion is based on merit and seniority. Performance appraisal discloses how an employee is working in his present job and what are his strong and weak points. In the light of these, it can be decided whether he can be promoted to the next higher position. y Training and Development: Performance appraisal tries to identify the strengths and weakness of an employee on his present job. This information can be used for devising training and development programmes appropriate for overcoming weaknesses of employees. y Feedback: Performance appraisal provides feedback to employees about their performa nce. A person works better when he knows how he is working. This works in two ways, firstly, the person gets feedback about his performance. Secondly, when the person gets feedback about his performance, he can relate his work to the orgaisational objectives. y Pressure on Employees: Performance appraisal puts a sort of pressure on employees for better performance. If the employees are conscious that they are being appraised in respect of certain factors and their future largely depends on such appraisal. Others y y Identifying systemic factors that are barriers to, or facilitators of, effective performance. To confirm the services of probationary employees upon their completing the probationary period satisfactorily. y To improve communication. Performance appraisal provides a format for dialogue between the superior and the subordinate, and improves understanding of personal goals and concerns. This can also have the effect of increasing the trust between the rater and the ratee. y To determine whether HR programmes such as selection, training, and transfer have been effective or not.
Benefits of Performance Appraisal
Perhaps the most significant benefit of appraisal is that, in the rush and bustle of daily working life, it offers a rare chance for a supervisor and subordinate to have ³time out´ for a one-on-one discussion of important work issues that might not otherwise be addresses. Appraisal offers a valuable opportunity to focus on work activities and goals, to identify and correct existing problems, and to encourage better future performance. Thus the performance of the whole organization is enhanced. For many employees, an ³official´ appraisal interview may be the only time they get to have exclusive, uninterrupted access to their supervisor. Said one employee of a large organization after his first formal performance appraisal, ³In twenty years of work, that¶s the first time anyone has ever bothered to sit down and tell me how I¶m doing.´ The value of this intense and purposeful interaction between a supervisors and subordinate should not be underestimated. Motivation and Satisfaction
Performance appraisal can have a profound effect on levels of employee motivation and satisfaction ± for better as well as for worse. Performance appraisal provides employees with recognition for their work efforts. The power of social recognition as an incentive has been long noted. In fact, there is evidence that human beings will even prefer negative recognition in preference to no recognition at all. If nothing else, the existence of an appraisal program indicates to an employee that the organization is genuinely interested in their individual performance and development. This alone can have a positive influence on the individual¶s sense of worth, commitment and belonging. The strength and prevalence of this natural human desire for individual recognition should not be overlooked. Absenteeism and turnover rates in some organizations might be greatly reduced if more attention were paid to it. Regular performance appraisal, at least, is a good start. Training and Development Performance appraisal offers an excellent opportunity ± perhaps the best that will ever occur ± for a supervisor and subordinate to recognize and agree upon individual training and development needs. During the discussion of an employee¶s work performance, the presence or absence of work skills can become very obvious ± even to those who habitually reject the idea of training for them! Performance appraisal can make the need for training more pressing and relevant by linking it clearly to performance outcomes and future career aspirations. From the point of view of the organization as a whole, consolidated appraisal data can form a picture of the overall demand for training. This data may be analyzed by variables such as sex, department, etc. In this respect, performance appraisal can provide a regular and efficient training needs audit for the entire organization. Recruitment and Induction Appraisal data can be used to monitor the success of the organization¶s recr itment and induction u practices. For example, how well are the employees performing who were hired in the past two years? Appraisal data can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of changes in recruitment strategies. By following the yearly data related to new hires (and given sufficient numbers on which to base the analysis) it is possible to assess whether the general quality of the workforce is improving, staying steady, or declining. Employee Evaluation Though often understated or even denied, evaluation is a legitimate and major objective of performance appraisal. But the need to evaluate (i.e., to judge) is also an ongoing source of tension, since evaluative and developmental priorities appear to frequently clash. Yet at its most basic level, performance appraisal is the process of examining and evaluating the performance of an individual. Though organizations have a clear right ± some would say a duty ± to conduct such evaluations of performance, many still recoil from the idea. To them, the explicit process of judgment can be dehumanizing and demoralizing and a source of anxiety and distress to employees. It is been said by some that appraisal cannot serve the needs of evaluation and development at the same time; it must be one or the other. But there may be an acceptable middle ground, where the need to evaluate employees objectively, and the need to encourage and develop them, can be balanced.
Methods of Performance Appraisal
Performance appraisal are considered to be the vital tool, to measure the performance of an employee and use the information collected, to optimize the resource of individuals in an organization. It is systematic evaluation of individuals with respect to their task performance and their potential for development individually and collectively. It refers to the assessments of an employee¶s
actual performance, behaviour on jobs and his/her potential for further performance. The main purposes of appraisal are to assess training need to effect promotion and to give high pay. We may say that appraising the performance of an individual has been known as merit rating, but in recent years, we may closure different terminologies have been used to denote this process such as performance appraisal, performance review, performance evaluation, employee appraisal, progress appraisal report, personal preview and so on. Following methods are widely used in Performance Appraisal. 1. Forced-Choice Rating This technique was developed to reduce bias and establish objective standards of comparison between individuals, but it does not involve the intervention of a third party. Although there are many variations of this method, the most common one asks raters t choose from among groups of o statements those which best fit the individual being rated and those those which least fit him. The statements are then weighted or scored, very much the way a psychological test is scored. People with high scores are, by definition, the better employees; those with low scores are the poorer ones. Since the rater does not know what the scoring weights for each statement are, in theory at least, he cannot play favorites. He simply describes his people, and someone in the personn department el applies the scoring weights to determine who gets the best rating. The rationale behind this technique is difficult to fault. It is the same rationale used in developing selection test batteries. In practice, however, the forced choice methods tend to irritate raters, who feel they are not being trusted. They want to say openly how they rate someone and not be second guessed or tricked into making ³honest´ appraisals. 2. Field Review When there is reason to suspect rater bias, when some raters appear to be using higher standards than others, or when comparability of ratings is essential, essay or graphic ratings are often combined with a systematic review process. The field review is one of several techniques for doing this. A member of the personnel or central administrative staff meets with small groups of raters from each supervisory unit and goes over each employee¶s rating with them to (a) identify areas of inter -rater disagreement, (b) help the group arrive at a consensus, and (c) determine that each rater conceives the standards similarly. This group-judgment technique tends to be fairer and more valid then individual ratings and permits the central staff to develop an awareness of the varying degrees of leniency or severity -as well as bias- exhibited by raters in different departments. On the negative side, the process is very time consuming. 3. Essay Appraisal In its simplest form, this technique asks the rater to write a paragraph or more covering an individual¶s strengths, weaknesses, potential, and so on. In most selection situations, particularly those former employers, teachers, or associates carry significant weight. The assumptions seems to be that an honest and informed statement ±either by word of mouth or in writing form someone who knows a man well, is fully as valid as more formal and more complicated methods. The biggest drawback to essay appraisals is their variability in length and content. Moreover, since different essays touch on different aspects of a mans performance or p ersonal qualifications, essay ratings are difficult to combine or compare. For comparability, some type of more formal method, like the graphic rating scale, is desirable. 4. Management By Objectives To avoid, or to deal with, the feeling that they are being judged by unfairly high standards, employees in some organizations are being asked to set-or help set-their own performance goals. Within the last
five or six years, MBO has become something of a fad and is so familiar to most managers that I will not dwell on it here. It should be noted, however, that when MBO is applied at lower organizational levels, employees do not always want to be involved in their own goal setting. As Arthur N. Turner and Paul R. Lawrence discovered, many do not want self-direction or autonomy. As a result, more coercive variations of MBO drifting into a kind of manipulative form of management in which pseudo-participation substitutes for the real thing. Employees are consulted, but management ends up imposing its standards and its objectives. Some organizations, therefore, are introducing a work-standards approach to goal setting in which management openly sets the goals. In fact, there appears to be something of a vogue in the setting of such work standards in white-collar and service areas. 5. Assessment Centers So far, we have been talking about assessing past performance. What about the assessment of future performance or potential? In any placement decision and even more so in promotion decisions, some prediction of future performance is necessary. How can this kind of prediction be made most validly and most fairly? One widely used rule of thumb is that ³what a man has done is the best predictor of what he will do in the future´. But suppose you are picking a man to be a supervisor and this person has never held supervisory responsibility? Or suppose you are selecting a man for a job from among a group of candidates, none of who has done the job or one like it? In these situation, many organizations use assessment centers to predict future performance more accurately. Typically, individuals from different departments are brought together to spend two or three days working on individual and group assignments similar to the ones they will be handling if they are promoted. The pooled judgment of observers ± sometimes derived by paired comparison or alternation ranking ± leads to an order ±of-merit ranking for each participant. Less structured, subjective judgment is also made. There are good deals of evidence that people chosen by assessment center methods work out better than those not chosen by these methods. The center also makes it possible for people who are working for departments of low status or low visibility in an organization to become visible and, in the competitive situation of an assessment center, show how they stack up against people from better known departments. This has the effect of equalizing opportunity, improving morale, and enlarging the pool of possible promotion candidates. 6. Graphic Rating Scale This method is more consistent and reliable. Typically, a graphic scale assesses a person on the quality and quantity of his work and on a variety of other factors that vary with the job but usually include personal traits like reliability and cooperation. It may also include specific performance items like oral and written communication. The graphic scale has come under frequent attack, but remains the most widely used rating method. In a classic comparison between the ³old-fashioned´ graphic scale and the much more sophisticated force-choices technique, the former proved to be fully as valid as the best of the forced-choice forms, and better than most of them. It is also cheaper to develop and more acceptable to raters than the forced-choice form. For many purposes there is no need to use anything more complicated than a graphic scale supplement by a few essay questions. 7. Ranking Mathods For comparative purposes, particularly when it is necessary to compare people who work for different supervisors, individual statements, ratings, or appraisal forms are not particularly useful. Instead, it is
necessary to recognize that comparisons involve an overall subjective judgment to which a host of additional facts and impressions must somehow be added. There is no single form or way to do this. y Alternation ranking: In this method, the names of employees are listed on the left-hand side of the sheet of paper ± preferably in random order. If the rankings are for salary purposes, a supervisor is asked to choose the ³most valuable´ employee on the list, cross his name off, and put it at the top of the column on the right-hand side of the sheet. Next, he selects the ³least valuable´ employee on the list, cross his name off, and puts it at the bottom of the right-hand column. The ranker then selects the most valuable person from the remaining list, crosses his name off and enters it below the top name on the right-hand list, and so on. y Paired ± comparison ranking: This technique is probably just as accurate as alternation ranking and might be more so. But with large numbers of employees it becomes extremely time consuming and cumbersome. Certain techniques in performance appraisal have been thoroughly investigated, and some have been found to yield better results than others. Encourage Discussion Research studies show that employees are likely to feel more satisfied with their appraisal result if they have the chance to talk freely and discuss their performance. It is also more likely that such employees will be better able to meet future performance goals. Employees are also more likely to feel that the appraisal process is fair if they are given a chance to talk about their performance. This especially so when they are permitted to challenge and appeal against their evaluation. Constructive Intention It is very important that employees recognize that negative appraisal feedback is provided with a constructive intention, i.e., to help them overcome present difficulties and to improve their future performance. Employees will be less anxious about criticism, and more likely to find it useful, when the believe that the appraiser¶s intentions are helpful and constructive. In contrast, other studies have reported that ³destructive criticism´ ± which is vague, ill-informed, unfair or harshly presented ± will lead to problems such as anger, resentment, tension and workplace conflict, as well as increased resistance to improvement, denial of problems, and poorer performance. Set Performance Goals It has been shown in numerous studies that goal setting is an important element in employee motivation. Goals can stimulate employee effort, focus attention, increase persistence, and encourage employees to find new and better ways to work. The useful of goals as a stimulus to human motivation is one of the best-supported theories in management. It is also quite clear that goals which are ³«specific, difficult and accepted by employees will lead to higher levels of performance than easy, vague goals (such as do your best) or no goals at all. Appraiser Credibility It is important that the appraiser (usually the employee¶s supervisor) be well informed and credible. Appraisers should feel comfortable with the techniques of appraisal, and should be knowledgeable about the employee¶s job and performance. When these conditions exist, employees are more likely to view the appraisal process as accurate and fair. They also express more acceptances of the appraiser¶s feedback and a greater willingness to change.
Importance of Performance Appraisal
Performance appraisal is the assessment of an individual¶s performance in an performance in a systematic way, the performance being measured against such factors as job knowledge, quality and quantity of output, initiative, leadership abilities, supervision, dependability, co-operation, judgment, versatility etc. assessment should not be confined to the past performance alone. Potentials of the employee for the future performance must also be assessed. Performance appraisal can be defined as ³the systematic evaluation of the individual with respect to his or her performance on the job and his or her potential for development´. A more comprehensive definition is, ³Performance appraisal is a formal structured system of measuring and evaluating an employee¶s job and how the employee can perform effectively in future so that the employee, organization all be benefited.´ Performance appraisal, to common understanding, is the formal and informal assessment of the performance of the employee at work. In an informal system we are aware that superior is continually making judgments about their subordinates¶ performance on a subjective basis. By contrast, superiors could resort to using formalized appraisal techniques when assessing the performance of subordinate, and these judgments arc considered to be more objective. In formalized systems the terms µperformance appraisal and µperformance management¶ are used. Both refer to a process where by mangers and their subordinates share understanding about what has to be accom plished, and the manager will naturally be concerned about how best bring about those accomplishments by adept management and development of people in short and long terms. Also, performance would be measured using the techniques discussed in this chapter and it will be subsequently related to targets or plans. In this way the subordinate receives feedback on his or her progress. Importance of Performance Appraisal Systems In many organizations, the feedback on job performance is ambiguous or is given annua as a lly ritualistic exercise. Many subordinates therefore have trouble in gasping how their efforts are perceived by the organization. Almost every one who has worked at a job can remember times when they were unclear on how their performance was being judged. The annual performance appraisal system tends to serve only a little purpose: salary administration, training and succession planning. But this is not the sole objective of performance appraisal. These objectives will only dilute and weaken the clarity and validity of any appraisal system. Most organization ties the formal appraisal system directly to salary increase, which decrease their validity. Performance appraisal system is therefore very important for organizations to: (a) Link Salary and Status Realistically to the Performance Appraisals Most personnel departments have a very narrow outlook to appraisals. The general view is to receive the appraisal forms at a date (which usually is the deadline), issue instructions regarding increments and promotions, receive the data regarding the same and they issue letters to the concerned employee informing of their salary increase. The appraisal process gets polluted as the appraiser and appraise have at the back of their minds promotion and salary increas rather than performance e, plans and participative reviews. This dilutes the objectives of appraisal to great extent. In fact, if organizations create, a culture of continuous feedback on the performance they would be making the appraisal system more relevant. Several organizations have already started delinking performance appraisal from salary increase. (b) Making Objectives of Performance Appraisals Clear to All Employees If performance appraisal should not directly be linked to salary increase the question then arises, what should the objectives of performance appraisals be that could be realistically achieved? Some suggestions: y To do joint goal setting, and link the goals to the organizational objectives
y y y y y y
To provide role clarity by defining Key Result areas for Accounting. To establish a level of performance in the current job and seek ways of improving it. To identify potential for development and to support the total process of planning To increase communication between the appraiser and the appraise. To identify factors that facilitate performance and other factors that hinder performance. To help the employees identify and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. To make them assess their own competencies and how the same can be multiplied and improved.
To generate data about the employee for various decisions like transfers, rewards, job-rotation, etc. (c) Focus on Developmental Appraisals Managers should develop part ownership in the employee¶s future. Any good appraisal system should focus on developmental appraisal. Developmental appraisal mean that an organization needs to develop not just isolated performance appraisal tool/system, but the total frame work for the individuals development, improvement in job and level of competence and preparng employees for i future jobs. Thus, appraisal of people, which is a part of the total HRD system, lies to be linked to long-term development activity and carrier planning. Organizations have to show vision for the future. Vision, strategies and objectives will give rise to individual objectives and performance standards. The immediate rewards and recognition do not lead to enduring performance and upgrading of competence and therefore are not real motivators. The appraisal as a tool not only gives the individual and the organization the idea of where the individual stands in terms of his skills, competencies and abilities, but also monitors the process of growth and development, together with the inputs that are required to develop a high level of competenc by e individuals. (d) Let Employees Appraise Their Own Performance Subordinates need feedback more often on their performance. The best way to do it is to let them appraise their own performance. Self-appraisal would;
1. Motivate the employee to take more responsibility for his/her own performance. 2. Focus on the job behavior only. 3. Reduce ambiguity in performance and focus on change in job behavior. When subordinates undertake self-appraisal, they analyze their job duties and how key issues in a job they handle. Each individual may rate himself or herself. Self-appraisal may focus on cost control, communication, planning, training, delegation and decision making. After self-appraisal, the subordinate discusses the ratings with his/her direct report or superior to get a feed back on performance. Both then come to an agreement in areas of convergence and draw a job improvement plan. (e) Create a Climate for Open Appraisals in Organizations In most organizations, the concept of open appraisal is misunderstood. Ope appraisal does nut n mean that the appraisal ratings are shown by the subordinate, and his/her signature is then obtained. What it does mean that both the appraiser and the appraise share their views on performance with each other, identify the areas of improvement and work towards it. One of the objectives of open communication between the appraiser and the appraise is to bring them together to solve organizational problems and performance related problems. The quality of ratings is likely to improve if there is shared understanding between the appraiser and the appraise.
(f) Muscle Builds the Organization In today¶s competitive world, raising performance goals is essential. This entails analyzing the company¶s current situation, projecting the future, establishing higher expectations, and selling the top management on the upgrading process and developing an action plan. Muscle builds the organization by; 1. Enhancing your own performance 2. Accelerating the professional growth of the best performers 3. Not tolerating managerial performers. One cannot muscle build the organization, unless marginal performers are replaced. 4. Developing multiple skills and competencies by worshiping success and potential. (g) Build Commitment in the Workplace Change is an inevitable part of manager¶s job. As conditions change, individual responsibilities are also expected to change. In commitment-based approach, the workplace, jobs are designed to be broader than before, team accountability is as important as individual accountability for performance. The performance expectations are high and emphasize continuous important in the workplace.
Common Mistakes in Performance Appraisal
Where performance appraisal fails to work as well as it should, lack of support from the top levels of management is often cited as a major contributing reason. Opposition may be based on political motives, or more simply, on ignorance or disbelief in the effectiveness of the appraisal process. It is crucial that top management believe in the value of appraisal and expresses their visible commitment to it. Top managers are powerful role models for other managers and employees. Fear of Failure There is a stubborn suspicion among many appraisers that a poor appraisal result tends to reflect badly upon them also, since they are usually the employee¶s supervisor. Many appraisers have a vested interest in making their subordinates ³look good´ on paper. When this problem exists (and it can be found in many organizations), it may point to a problem in the organization culture. The cause may be a culture that is intolerant of failure. In other words, appraisers may fear the possibility of repercussions ± both for themselves and the appraisee. Longneck (1989) argues that accuracy in performance appraisal is impossible to achieve, since people play social and political games, and they protect their own interests. ³No savvy manager«´, says Longneck, ³« is going to use the appraisal process to shoot himself or herself in the foot.´ No matter what safeguards are in place, ³« when you turn managers loose in the real world, they consciously fudge the numbers.´ What Longneck is saying is that appraisers will, for all sorts of reasons, deliberately distort the evaluations that they give to employees. Judgment Aversion Many people have a natural reluctance to ³play judge´ and create a permanent record which may affect an employee¶s future career. This is the case especially where there may be a need to make negative appraisal remarks. Training in the techniques of constructive evaluation (such as self auditing) may help. Appraisers need to recognize that problems left unchecked could ultimately cause more harm to an employee¶s career than early detection and correction. Organizations might consider the confidential archiving of appraisal records more than, say, three years old. Feedback-Seeking
Larson (1989) has described a social game played by poor performers. Many supervisors will recognize the game at once and may have been its victims. The game is called feedback seeking. It occurs where a poor performing employee regularly seeks informal praise from his or her supervisor at inappropriate moments. Often the feedback-seeker will get the praise they want, since they choose the time and place to ask for it. In effect, they ³ambush´ the supervisor by seeking feedback at moments when the supervisor is unable or unprepared to give them a full and proper answer, or in settings that are inappropriate for a frank assessment. The game seems innocent enough until appraisal time comes around. Then the supervisor will find that the employee recalls, with perfect clarity, every casual word of praise ever spoken! The aim of the game is that the feedback- seeker wants to deflect responsibility for their own poor performance. They also seek to bolster their appraisal rating by bringing in all the ³evidence´ of casual praise. Very often the feedback seeker will succeed in making the s upervisor feel at least partly responsible. As a result, their appraisal result may be upgraded. Was the supervisor partly responsible? Not really. The truth of the matter is that they have been ³blackmailed´ by a subtle social game. But like most social games, the play depends on the unconscious participation of both sides. Making supervisors aware of the game is usually sufficient to stop it. They must learn to say, when asked for casual praise, ³I can¶t talk about it now« but see me in my office later.´ Appraiser Preparation The bane of any performance appraisal system is the appraiser who wants to ³play it by ear´. Such attitudes should be actively discouraged by stressing the importance and technical challenge of good performance appraisal. Perhaps drawing their attention to the contents of this web site, for example, may help them to see the critical issues that must be considered. Employee Participation Employees should participate with their supervisors in the creation of their own performance goals and development plans. Mutual agreement is a key to success. A plan wherein the employee feels some degree of ownership is more likely to be accepted than one that is imposed. This does not mean that employees do not desire guidance from their supervisor; indeed they very much do. Performance Management One of the most common mistakes in the practice of performance appraisal is to perceive appraisal as an isolated event rather than an ongoing process. Employees generally require more feedback, and more frequently, than can be provided in an annual appraisal. While it may not be necessary to conduct full appraisal sessions more than once or twice a year, performance management should be viewed as an ongoing process. Frequent mini-appraisals and feedback sessions will help ensure that employees receive the ongoing guidance, support and encouragement they need. If appraisal is viewed as an isolated event, it is only natural that supervisors will come to view their responsibilities in the same way. Just as worrying, employees may come to see their own effort and commitment levels as something that needs a bit of a polish up in the month or two preceding appraisals.
10 Tips for Using 360s for Performance Reviews
A number of organizations have successfully used 360 degree feedback for performance appraisals. These organizations appear to share several common characteristics that help them to succeed where others fail:
1. Understand the differences in use and purpose. These two types of assessments are not interchangeable. Understanding that scores will differ depending on the purpose, as discussed previously, will help in determining how best to use and interpret the scores. As outcomes will likely be different depending on the purpose, these differences should be taken into account when determining how best to use and interpret the results. 2. Communicate the purpose and process. Let employees know the intended purpose before administering the assessments, as well as how the results will be used. Communicate the process and hold to it. Train the organization on how to provide accurate ratings. 3. Use a pilot group. Using a pilot group (or groups) of 35-50 people prior to organization-wide rollout has several advantages. First, it allows for refinement of the process and of the instrument itself. Many potential problems are quickly identified through this process that would have been wide-spread otherwise. Second, the pilot group can act as champions throughout the rest of the organization. This pilot study may also give you a small taste of what to expect when rolled out to the rest of the organization. 4. Wait before taking administrative action. Although these successful organizations use 360s for appraisal, most have waited 12-18 months before beginning to tie raises, promotions, etc. to the appraisal results. This allows people to become familiar with the process and comfortable with providing feedback. 5. Select appropriate raters. It is often more appropriate for employees to select their own raters with developmental feedback than with appraisal feedback. With appraisals, there may be the temptation to stack the deck in terms of who is selected to provide feedback. This can be solved by selecting raters on behalf of the employee, rather than requiring the employee to select his or her own raters. It is also critical to ensure that selected raters have regular interaction with the employee being rated, and can provide accurate feedback as to performance. It is also important to limit the number of raters. 6. Consider the answer scale. Multi rater assessment for development should include questions geared at behavior (the how), while appraisal assessments can focus more on the performance (the what). Survey questions should reflect these differences in design. We also recommend that a 7 point Likert scale be used, rather than a 5 point scale. This allows for greater differentiation in scores. 7. Use small but relevant rater groups. Consider the number of people that will be involved in providing feedback. Multi rater appraisals involve more of theCopyright 2008, DecisionWise, Inc.. Page 8 www.decwise.com | 800.830.8086 organization in terms of providing feedback. Each person (especially managers), may be required to complete multiple evaluations. 8. Keep the survey short. It is also important to design a survey that is short enough that it can be completed in 15 minutes. We have found this to be approximately 45 55 questions. If it s any longer, raters tend to experience rater fatigue, often resulting in all scores falling in the good range. The shorter the survey, the more apt raters are to provide the time needed to give accurate information. It therefore becomes especially important that the survey be even more concise, as completing multiple, lengthy assessments may become time consuming and ineffective. Keep in mind, however, that this brevity should never be at the expense of losing the value of comprehensive
feedback. 9. Use a customized survey. Be aware that most off the shelf surveys are designed for developmental use, not for appraisals. We typically find that off the shelf surveys are inappropriate for appraisal purposes, and that organizations should consider a survey customized to their specific purposes. 10. Don t group questions into single category scores. Many performance appraisals group a series of questions under one category. An example of this would be the category of Communications. Communications is comprised of many elements: oral communications, written communications, listening, etc. Rather than providing scores for each item, many appraisals will give one overall score for the category. When this is the case, it is often difficult for an employee to know which area of Communications is being addressed. Providing a score for each individual question provides more useful data, and is easier for the rater to evaluate more accurately.