Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Performance Appraisal

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. The focus of performance appraisal has moved away from strict evaluation toward improving performance and developing staff by means of transparent discussion and feedback.

. Performance appraisal is part of performance measurement, ie is an organisation/unit/individual, etc accomplishing its objectives? It involves defining, collecting, analysing and making decisions regarding all performance measures. These measures indicate how effectively and/or efficiently something or someone is performing

. Measuring performance is a requisite in any continuous improvement program, benchmarking, etc.. However, it is vital to measure only what is important, ie core activities, etc, and to be flexible, ie do not set the performance measure(s) in stone!!!!!!

. With improvement and development, the guiding principles the appraisal process focuses on

- results and behaviours, not personality

- issues and problems, not subjective gripes

- constructive development to improve performance

- the motivation and growth of staff

. Performance appraisals are perceived to be fair when the following 3 elements are aligned

- procedural (was the process followed fair and transparent?)

- distributive (were the consequences of the review fair?)

- inter-actional (were employees treated with dignity and respect?)

Furthermore, there 6 main elements in the creation of a fair appraisal

i) design of the review is linked directly with the job

ii) relevance to the employee and the organisation

iii) timing of the review

iv) independent reviews of the process so that it is authenticated and accepted

v) guidance and clear instructions for reviewers

vi) communication of expectations and results

. Appraisals should occur more frequently than once a year and involves more than a simple meeting. The process involves face-to-face discussion in which a staff member's work is discussed, reviewed and appraised. Normally it follows an accepted framework, and objectives and targets for the coming year are agreed.

. Feedback is an important part of the process. It needs to be supported by specific examples and events to highlight aspects of learning and development. This feedback needs to occur against a background of open and honest discussions.

. For the person being appraised it is important to remember ‐ for any problem you mention, always propose a solution

. Realise that unpredictable situations/environments can occur, resulting in the need to refine goals, objectives and targets. Remember: there is no point in hitting the bull's-eye if you're shooting at the wrong target!!!!!

. It provides a good opportunity to review your competence and capabilities in technical and managerial areas

. Be prepared to take some time to reflect on things before finalizing any plan


. There is a need to develop a performance appraisal system that encourages and stresses behaviours, ie only rewards and recognises correct behaviours. Remember: it is through the behaviours that staff members get things done. There are basis 2 ways to influence behaviours, ie

i) antecedents (anything that gets behaviour started, such as a request, command, memo, etc)

ii) consequences (what happens as a result of the behaviour such as praise, reward, recognition, punishment, etc).

. Antecedents will get behaviour started

. Consequences will keep behaviour going or make it stop. There are 4 types of consequences:

i) positive reinforcements (the carrot)

ii) punishment (the stick)

iii) extinction (ignore it and maybe it will go away)

iv) negative reinforcements (do it or else!).


Measuring performance enables an organisation/unit/individual, etc to:

. Understand the current situation

. Determine whether improvements have occurred

. Identify where improvements need to be made

. Ensure that decisions are made on the basis of fact

. Knowing whether or not targets are being met

Criteria for setting objectives

. Compelling (capable of getting staff's attention)

. Motivating (able to inspire staff to put in the extra effort)

. Consistent (able to be met without compromise)

. Achievable (reachable with reasonable levels of efforts and commitment)

. Distinguishing (when achieved, they will differentiate the organisation from its competitors)

. Competitive advantage (achievement will result in superior rewards and recognition)

. Personally satisfying (achievement will produce staff satisfaction amongst those who contributed)

. Sustainable (they will pass the test of time)

During the appraisal itself, both parties should focus on

. Activities, tasks or projects that gave the appraised party most satisfaction and why

. Activities, tasks or projects that gave the appraised party least satisfaction and why

. Overall performance since last appraisal

. Areas of possible improvement

. Next period's output

. Short and long-term personal development

. Any areas of differing views, including priorities

Questions for measuring processes

. What products or services do you produce?

. Who are our customer(s) ‐ internal and external?

. What exactly are our processes?

. What do we do?

. How do we do it?

. What starts and what ends a process?

. Do the benefits exceed the cost of obtaining the measurement?

Questions for measuring activity

. How efficient and cost-efficient are they?

. Have effective and cost-effective are they?

. How satisfied are our customers?

. Are there zero defects?

. Was the activity timely?

. Can productivity be improved?

. Was safety adequate?

. What areas of the activity can be improved?

. Do the benefits exceed the cost of obtaining the measurement?

Criteria for establishing performance indicators:

. Realistic (meeting them does not require unreasonable effort)

. Understandable (they should be expressed in simple and clear terms)

. Adaptable (they can be changed if conditions change)

. Economical (the cost of setting and administering them is low in relationship to the activity covered)

. Legitimate (they should not be illegal)

. Measurable (they are communicable with precision)

Criteria for data collection

. What am I trying to measure?

. Where will I make the measurement?

. How accurate and precise must the measurement be?

. Is the data suitable? If not, how to make it suitable?

. Is the data readily available? If not, how will it be collected?

. Have we reduced the chance of bias in data collection?

(sources: Joseph Boyett et al, 1998; Lisa Carden et al, 2006; Richard Posthuma, 2008)

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