Performance Appraisal Systems are Becoming More Objective

Performance appraisal systems have become more objective and less subjective. Even support departments have worked on making most of the KRAs measurable. At the same time the process has been simplified by replacing the long and cumbersome forms to more direct and user friendly ones. In many geographically distributed organizations, it has gone online. One of the better outcomes has been improved transparency which was always a concern for the employees Another evolution has been that it has rightfully moved from the onus on HR to the line function and in a few cases, even on the individual who is being appraised. The process is becoming more constructive and interactive.
Companies that did not have any appraisal system now have one. Managers themselves have started taking the onus on themselves to ensure that their decisions on compensation, recognition and promotions are seen as transparent and fair. So should the HR design a better process in the future? The transparent appraisal systems will also allow employees to understand their performance in comparison to their colleagues and further motivate them to perform to the best of their abilities. The future of the appraisal system looks positive where the onus will shift to the individual employees to take charge of his/her own career and use this process as one of the major tools for career progression. More organizations will want to do it correctly to retain their best talent.
It has been observed that though performance management systems are meant to be a process for reviewing an employee’s work and contribution most employees across industries are left high and dry and confused because of the complicated processes many companies follow.

Appraisals become complicated as goals are not reflective of the individuals role. Also, cross functional linkages are missing that ensure alignment between objectives of various department being considered while preparing KRAs . The complexity also comes in when the process is merely taken as a process and not a career development platform. Appraisal processes need to provide charity to employees on what they are expected to achieve – however many a times, it is noticed that the management tries and achieves too many objectives through performance appraisals system thus leading to complications.
Extensive research has revealed that effective performance appraisal systems help to create a motivated workforce. And the simpler the process the more effective it gets. Employees today look forward to organizations leveraging and building their talent. A well implemented performance appraisal plays a vital role towards creating a positive and enriching work environment which encourages retention.
So, how should organizations work towards simplifying the process? The foremost requirement here is the need to set clear goals for employees which are quantifiable / easily measurable. The goals should not only be measurable but also there should be tools to measure these goals objectively and evaluation should be based on well-defined Key performance Indicators (KPIs).
Ensure to give an employee his/her feedback on time. Actually putting together everything to make it a loaded feedback which would take time to put in place, as long as you are able to give an honest feedback in a timely manner. There is no need to have a complex one in place that doesn’t help derive anything concrete.

So what is it that employees should do in order to make the process simpler from their end?
1) Firstly, understand the know how of your performance and have a 100 per cent buy in the KRAs and the evaluation.
2) Ensure that most of your KRAs are metric driven and easily measurable.
3) It’s best that you keep a track of your goals and accomplishments throughout the year than trying to remember all at the end while filling up your appraisal forms.
Excerpts from Ascent

  • kshantaram

    Apart from key goals each employee has a list of duties and responsibilities and the competencies needed to perform the same which may contribute to each of his goals indirectly and take up a lot of one’s time – eg conducting regular meetings with staff, regular MIS reports, annual surverys, etc which by themselves do not quantify for achievement of a goal. it is therefore important that a weightage is given to the effective performance of regular duties and responsibilities to begin with establishing the relative job value of each individual in the department and the organisation.

    the KRAs could be given more weightage whether one has contributed significantly at the macro goals of the organisation or the micro goals of the departmental objectives.

    moreover weightage needs to be given to the nature of challenging goals for the future/next year, expected performance and the potentials of the individual.

    all this put together would give an objective view of the value of the individual for the organisation and his relative significance and market value while also taking a futuristic view in terms of retention value of the individual. additional weightage could also be given to the market value of the individual based on the benchmarked market trends in terms of availability of talent and the current value of such talent.

    moreover each department should be weighted/indexed for the overall business and team performance of the department and contribution to the organisation which could be evaluated by a high level committee through annual departmental presentations – this index could determine the relative departmental rewards calibrated to each individual performance as a factor without leaving things to whims and fancies of the departmental managers leading to favoritism or inequity of rewards in the organisation. all this needs conceptual clarity and time at the disposal of the organisation well planned and directed. a department which has no achieved it’s overall business objectives would naturally call for lowered ratings for the individuals in the department with due weightage to known constraining factors and thus lower relative rewards thus establishing objectivity and equity across the organisation.

    needless to say due weightage must be given to the competencies and the values fit of the individual in the overall scheme of being objective in appraising the individual. competencies are the inputs for performance arrived at. while facilitating and constraining factors should be factored objectively too while passing judgment on the performance of the individual, moderating his performance rating accordingly.

    whatever quantitative techniques are used to make the performance appraisal look objective, it is ultimately the judgment of the head of the department in relative terms with other employees in a given business performance context – a relative rank order arrived at after taking an informed objective view based on all the above factors documented carefully. while the overall judgment could be a holistic relative view taken by the management in terms of informed subjectivity collectively perceived by the organisation in a business and cultural context while being fair and equitable at the same time. each individual could be rated on a scale of 0-100 and rank order established which should be relevant with the various ratings achieved by the individual not being at gross deviance which need to be carefully reviewed by the reviewing authority while approving the ratings.

    goals of individuals are added or deleted from time to time as an ongoing process based on newer agenda coming up from time to time and it may not always be possible to establish all the goals on day one. thus these additional goals of the inidividual need to be updated while doing the performance appraisal – and the weightage of each goal in relative importance and the challenge involved in terms of equity value of such goals across the department and the organisation. a complex exercise indeed.

    inspite of all this sophistication of the performance appraisal technology and the processes, since they operate in a human environment where one is forced to use some judgment it is indeed difficult to establish full objectivity. things could become personally meaningful in terms of the whole exercise where one gets emotional encouragement, objective feedback for improvement, opportunities for learning and growth and a career path, dissolving constraints or grievances, providing infrastructural support, etc as personal outcomes for the individual leading to job engagement and better future performance – apart from the focus on monetary rewards, while the reward policy itself and the administration of the same needs to be faultless not becoming a constraint by itself leading to jacking up the ratings by the self and the boss with a view to gain favour for the subordinate. after doing a gigantic performance appraisal exercise if the rewards are in the form of peanuts one collectively tends to lose interest in such an unproductive time consuming system not benchmarked with the market trends or tending to be stingy and discouraging lowering overall employee morale not achieving any ROI on the complex system administered.

    the leadership of the CEO and policy decisions on rewards and the effort taken to establish objectivity and equity across the organisation while being magnanimous in approach plays an important role. while low performers need to be identified, opportunity for improvement be given, and needed to be weeded out appropriately if do not perform or do not have the contemporary competencies while security could be offered through training, job rotation, etc but not beyond a point loweing organisational competencies and culture.

    hope these thoughts above make relevance to the theme of objective performance appraisals and their organisational effectiveness,

    humble regards/kshantaram

  • Krishna Kumar Limboo

    This kind of information is taken as an aid to appraise people’s performance.