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HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

ASSIGNMENT

Submitted by
VIVEK DEVASIA
Roll no. 179
Batch 20
Section C

Case Study Seven: Conducting performance appraisals at National Office


Supplies
Performance appraisal basically means evaluating an employees current or past
performance relative to his or her performance standards. It usually involves the setting of
work standards, assessing the employees actual performance relative to those standards, and
providing feedback to the employee with the aim of motivating him or her to eliminate
performance deficiencies or to continue to perform above par.
Here, in my company, National Office Supplies, there are two regional sales
managers Alex Scally and Daniel Rossen, handling the South-West region office and the
Southern region office, correspondingly.
Alex Scally is a gregarious, extrovert woman, who runs her office in a very informal
manner and is well-liked by her team. Her appraisals are best described as an informal chat
and she takes the view that appraisals are no big deal, downplaying their significance. She
doesnt want them to be turned into a focus for criticism or praise. She does not do appraisals
based on facts and figures and relies only on gut instincts when it comes to wage hikes.
On the other hand, Daniel Rossen is an altogether different character to Alex. He is
reserved and fastidious in his work and well-respected among his colleagues. Daniel views
the appraisal process as the focal point on the HR calendar and plans meticulously for each
appraisal collecting and collating performance data that he has recorded and reviewing the
years performance against the agreed objectives set in the previous appraisal. His appraisal
largely represent a series of questions fired by Daniel at the appraisee, many of which require
simply a one word answer which the manager records by ticking a box on a pro forma that he
has prepared himself. The questions asked of the team members focus on areas for
improvement, typically by asking appraisees about why, for example, they failed to obtain or
have lost a particular contract. Daniel takes the view that performance can only be improved
if previously-made mistakes are avoided in future. Daniel makes his decision over the
allocation of bonuses, partly on the basis of the number of ticks in the right box, along with
a consideration of volumes of sales generated, although he is keen to stress that he seeks to
reward his team not only on the basis of total sales but also on the context and way that those
sales have been achieved.
Now, the task in hand for me is to set out some guidelines based on what I have
witnessed at the Southern and South West offices and to circulate these to the managers in
every regional offices and to help them conduct more effective appraisals. For this, I need to
start by analysing the areas of good and bad practices in the appraisal process done by both
these regional offices.

ASSESSING THE GOOD AND BAD PRACTICES


To begin with, I have to talk to both the sales managers individually regarding their
styles of appraisal.

Alex takes appraisals to be too light and of least importance. She considers it to be
more of a regular normal procedure which is not of much use. Her method of
conducting the appraisal interview also needs to be changed. The casual talking style
of appraisal interview can create a stress free and relaxed environment for the
employees, but she does not use a proper method of appraisal. No formal set of
questions are put forth and the employees replies and responses are not properly
noted down or marked. This does not bring out the best use of these interviews and
the resultant appraisal is based only on gut instincts and the managers own
perceptions rather than real factual data and performance. Such an appraisal report
can be affected by various appraisal problems like various biases and recency effects.
There are various positives as well with Alexs approach. The casual way of the
interview and the good relations she holds with her employees can bring out a stress
free and relaxed atmosphere. This can lead to proper and free responses from the
employees, which if well used, can be very useful in assessing them and
understanding the reasons for their failure.

Daniel Rossen takes appraisals to be the most important part of the HR calendar every
year. He considers appraisals to be of prime importance and takes it very seriously.
He collects all the data available and utilizes them in his appraisal process. He sets
forms and predetermined questions and marks every answer given by the employee.
Thus the process of appraisal by Daniel can be very effective and well planned.
The negative side of Daniels appraisals is that, his serious and strict nature, and the
seriousness he puts into the whole procedure, make the appraisals a process full of
tension and stress to the employees. This cannot bring out the best results for the
company. As the employees, under the heavy stress they feel, cannot be true or clear
in their responses. The stress will not bring out the best responses from the employees
and can never prove to be good for any appraisal process.

SUGGESTING VARIOUS GUIDELINES FOR APPRAISAL


First of all, both these managers need to be taught and explained the need for the
performance appraisal process. They should be explained why it is important for the company
to conduct performance appraisals and how crucial it can be in the companys smooth and
efficient operations. They need to be explained about the extend at which the company is
growing and how appraisals can bring out the best out of the employees.

Why to appraise Performance?

Firstly, from a practical point of view, the base for pay and promotional decisions on
employees is the performance appraisal.
Secondly, the appraisal lets the management and the employees develop a plan for
correcting any deficiencies, and to reinforce the things the subordinate does right.

Thirdly, appraisals should serve a useful career planning purpose. They provide an
opportunity to review the employees career plans in light of his or her exhibited
strengths and weaknesses. He can identify the areas on which he needs to improve.
Fourthly, appraisals play an integral part companys performance management
process.

Various key steps in appraisal


First, we need to define the employees job and performance criteria. Defining the job
means making sure that we and our subordinate agree on his or her duties and job standards
and on the appraisal method we will use.
Then comes the actual performance appraising part, which means, comparing the
subordinates actual performance to the standards, usually using some rating form.
Finally, an effective appraisal requires a feedback session. Here, the manager and the
subordinate discuss his or her performance and progress, and make plans for any
development required.
The appraisal actually will be conducted using a predetermined and format tool. The
two basic questions in designing the actual appraisal tool are what to measure and how to
measure it. For example, in terms of what to measure, we may measure, the employees
performance in terms of generic dimensions such as quality and timeliness of work, or with
respect to achieving specific goals. In terms of how to measure it, there are various
methodologies including graphic rating scales, the alternation ranking method, and MBO.

Guidelines for How to Conduct Effective Appraisals

Understand the problems First, learn and understand the present appraisal problems.
Learning and understanding the problems with the methods and practices being used
currently can help avoid them. This can make the process more effective and bring
better results.
Selection of the right appraisal tool Second, find out the tool that is best suit for the
company. I am planning to meet with the top management and write to the regional
managers for their suggestions on deciding on the right tool for appraisal. A
combination of various tools can be the best option at several times. Each tool has its
own pros and cons. Various criterias that are to be considered for deciding on the tool
are, accessibility, ease of use, accuracy and time available.
Employee record Third, keep a record of employees performance over the year.
This provides the managers with proper data and facts to refer to, and compare real
and expected performances. A regular day to day record will note all the happenings
daily of each employees. This can help analyse each employees performance.
Preparing a Plan Fourth, the main aim of the appraisal should be to improve
unsatisfactory performance and to reinforce exemplary performance. The appraisals
end product should therefore always be a plan for what the employee must do to
improve his or her efforts.

Fair Appraisal Fifth, but perhaps most important, make sure that every appraisal the
manager gives is fair.
Avoid too much of Strictness Sixth, the appraisal interviews should not be too strict
and rigid. It has to be lenient enough to bring in positive results and yet be sticking to
a plan and format. Daniel should be asked to be lesser stringent and should be asked
to bring in more of a stress free environment in performance appraisals.
Collect and concentrate more on Objective Data Seventh, use examples such as
absences, tardiness, quality records, orders processed, productivity records, order
processing time, accident reports and so on.
Interviews should not be too personal Eight, avoid getting too personal and never
hurt an employees feelings. Instead, try to compare the persons performance to a
standard.
Listen to the employee Ninth, but an important rule in appraisal process, stop and
listen to the employee. Understand what he is saying. Allow him time to share his
thoughts and reasons for a problem rather than blaming him for it. Make sure that the
employee gets a chance to present his case and carefully not down points that can be
taken out of it.
Frequency of appraisal Tenth, a half yearly or a monthly system of appraisal can be
applied if it proves to be effective for a growing company like ours. The effectiveness
of such frequent appraisals need to be discussed and decided upon.
Feedback Last, but not the least, every performance appraisal process should end
with the feedback. The employee should be made to know the feedback and how he or
she can improve. The employee should be reinforced of the good work he has done
and be motivated to carry on with the good work.

CONCLUSION
A mix of Alexs and Daniels method of appraisals is what can be an effective way of
doing it. Not being too casual and uninterested towards the idea of appraisal, and not being
too strict and creating tension on the employees, is what can be considered a good way of
doing it. In addition to this basic change, all the above described guidelines and methods can
help bring out the best appraisal process and a perfect result for the company. Such a
successful performance appraisal system is always essential for every established company
and a proper systematic approach is what National Office Supplies company needs in its
system in this growth stage.