How Performance Appraisal Is Critically Analysed

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Although performance appraisals in a company are an obligation, both managers and employees tend to dread them.  For the staff themselves, their future within the organization solely depends on the result of the appraisal. For example their salaries, promotion, bonuses and future responsibilities; all these are dependent on how the employee performed in the appraisal.

From a management point of view, one has to be judgmental, yet maintain a trust-worthy relationship with the employee and stay well within the guidelines as to overcome any complaints or short comings. As said by D. Guest "The central point is that all too often the management has failed to align their human resource systems with business strategies and therefore failed to exploit or utilize their human resources to the full, and in a rapidly changing and ever more competitive world this has become an essential requirement for corporate success."

Performance Appraisal aims not only to identify the justice of the appraisals but also to influence their effectiveness and usefulness within an organization.

Critically, the affiliation between organizational culture and employee motivation is what creates the result of positive performance appraisals. One has to connect both of these to bring efficiency and effectiveness in the organization.

This may seem a far away from your everyday business or organization closer to home, but surprisingly the variations between places and countries are very similar to that of organizations. Every business has their own specific way of doing things, has developed norms and procedures over time and has a different atmosphere and feeling. These differences, similar to that of countries, have developed through many influences both internal and external and the common name for these sets of differences within organizations is the same word used to describe a countries traditions and norms; it is Culture (Handy 1985).

Its known that cultures usually advance and transform within an organization due to the dynamic environment in today's life. However it solely depends on how the company looks at the dynamic world in the sense that it wishes to bring these changes or ignore them and continue with the outdated systems. This is possible if managers practice strict rules and abide by them.

"Managing and developing people have perhaps the most powerful effect on overall performance" (Caulkin 2001).

As said above, the major task within an organization is to direct and mould employees to the way a manager wants so as to achieve the desired and planned results. It is probably the toughest job because here we are engaging with the sentiments and characters of people from different backgrounds and different job environments. It is not just a matter of handling the employees with their job descriptions and at the end expecting them to bring the result that the manager yearned for. Every individual in the organization is different in the sense of the capabilities and sentiments towards the company thus one may work extremely hard for the company whereas one would not even care and has to be pushed to complete the job.

Performance also depends on how the supervisors handle the employees, in the sense that they are too harsh or maybe friendly. A staff is usually motivated within a friendly environment to work better and produce good results. It is very crucial to acknowledge how the managers behave with their staff in order to rule out the appraisals. Sometimes it is the mistakes of the managers that make an employee loose out in the appraisal programs. Let us look at these mistakes:

Waiting For The Performance Appraisal To Give Feedback

Sometimes managers take too long in delivering the feedback on an individual's performance that creates a negative impact on the employee's side of appraisal. This happens usually when an employee is not correct while a mistake has taken place on his part, but rather waited to be told in the appraisal activities.

This also makes the employee wonder why the manager didn't hit him earlier so that he would not repeat such a thing again. Moreover, an employee cannot be expected to do right things if he is not guided on how things are done. A manager has to constantly direct and monitor the employee and always provide proper feedback so the employee knows how he is performing.

Overstating the Current Performances

Managers have a tendency to remember and mention the recent activities which have taken place and forget the good work done by the employees in the past. This creates an inaccurate and unfair judgment while reviewing the performance appraisal of the employee.

A thorough investigation has to be made on the employee's work throughout the year so that each and every detail of his good and bad work is taken into consideration.

Tendency of becoming Too Positive or Too Negative

It is quiet frequent that the supervisors feel negative towards a particular employee if once noted inefficiency in him/her. This creates a very uncomfortable environment for the employee as he constantly inquires what he can do to please his boss. Such employees are not necessarily inefficient but are given such description due to onetime mistake.

Moreover, some employees are taken to positively just because they performed a good job in while. Managers should be careful to assess a particular staff as one time success or failure does not mean the completion of appraisal. One has to be assessed throughout his/her working period in that organization. Therefore it is compulsory to provide a proper feedback to the employee as it has a great impact on the employee.

Being Critical without being Productive

A manager being critical is fine but it should be in a sense of being constructive so that it benefits the employee. It is essential to criticize an employee for the betterment and not repeating the same mistake yet it has to be done in such a way so as to make the benefit the employee; so that he/she learns from that particular remark

Improvement is only achieved when a staff has realized his/her mistake in a constructive way so that it ultimately promotes the organization itself. If the manager's critique has merit and it is explained properly to the employee, it is going to be a valid thing for the organization. In no circumstances should an employee feel victimized in the process as this would demotivate the staff and bring no progress.

Talking and Not Listening

A major mistake done during the performance appraisal is when the manager does all the talking and does not listen o what the staff has to say. These sessions are believed to be interactive, thus if the manager does all the talking it is not fair to the employee as he/she doesn't get chance to express him/ herself.

Likewise the key point of performance appraisal is to concur on the company goals for the coming year; therefore if employee is not asked for opinions how are they going to commit to the goals if their views are not considered.

Also when a supervisor criticizes an employee, it is very imperative to get the employee's response to why he or she had underperformed.

It is clear indeed you can avoid these five mistakes -- it just takes a little effort. It is certainly worth it, if you think employee satisfaction, productivity and performance are important!


It seems that hardly any administrators, and even fewer businesses, treat the performance review with the seriousness that it deserves. At the time of reviews which are done at the end of the year it is very important to properly plan and organize the whole process and not take it light-hearted. Proper communication has to be made in order to complete the process of appraisal effectively.

Moreover, it is essential to give the staff strict regulations and monitor their discipline so that in return it supports our development and brings efficiency in our work. Also these reviews should not be looked as o one time incident or an activity done annually, but should be focused in achieving success the future endeavors.

Only a few leaders have captured the art of meaningful and effective feedback yet the issue remains that it is not always easy to properly monitor the work movements of employees to give a correct appraisal. At end it is the responsibility and duty of a boss to observe such evaluations.

Despite having convenient and many tools of performance appraisals to suit a particular organization the managers still lack in terms of supervising their staff appropriately and reviewing their performance.

Let us see some of the ways which can help in smoothing the rough edges of such behavior from the managers

Anchor feedback to mission. It is important to provide the staff initially with the company mission so that they are focused as to what is required of them very first in the beginning. A manager always looks forward to having his staff knowing, living and chanting the mission of the company. Missions, goals and objectives should feed directly into job descriptions and into performance evaluations. But it shouldn't stop there. They ought to serve as the foundation for establishing work priorities, reporting on progress, and setting meeting agendas. One of the benefits of integrating performance-based management techniques into running your business is that there should never be any ambiguity about where an employee fits in.

Do it now and not later. Illogical timeframes do not work here as when it is time for feedback it is better to finish it early than to wait a year to tell your employee how they had performed during the year. Feedback has to be immediate and ongoing so that it is effective. That way, good performance is recognized and repeated. On the flip side, you put a quick halt to anything that undermines the objectives of the team before it festers and takes on a life of its own. Instant feedback fosters an environment of accessibility and open communication.

Prepare. Give priority to the evaluation and review schedule. Few things in the business process are more imperative. Don't try to 'work it in' when work slows down. Take time before the performance review to think about those extensive goals you want to convey to the employee about and what the best approach should be. Don't wait for the employee to sit down in front of you to start filling out the forms. That shows no respect and no thought about the process.

Focus on performance. It is very effortless to be betrayed by personality and one's character. But the key to effective evaluation should look at how the employee's performance affects the team's objectives. As an alternative of saying an employee lacks motivation, try something like, "I notice that you're projects are consistently coming in after deadline, which makes it seem like you don't care. What can we do to help you meet your deadlines more effective?

Remember the three C's. These are clear, constructive and consistent; this can factually change the atmosphere of the organization indeed if pursued properly. Let them preside over all your communications. Don't beat around the bush or sweeten your message whilst dealing with the staff. Don't be critical in your tone or the employee will instantly put up a self-protective wall even if it is not their fault. For example, instead of saying, "You don't take initiative," turn it into a statement of expectation: "You in truth have some good ideas and I'm depending on you to step up and take action." Always offer relevant examples that help bring your points alive. This will motivate the staff to get more and resourceful ideas to bring progress to the organization.

Judge accordingly. Every member of the organization has a different role in supporting the team. Develop good forms of your own that tie directly to the team mission. Evaluate only job-specific skills and compliance with company policies so that at the end no blames are shared. Otherwise, the employee may feel that they are not judged fairly and may start to compare with his fellow staffs. It is better to avoid rating numerically in the first place. This is puzzling and can cause disagreements as the staff may state - "you rated me a 6 and I think I should be a 7." Most people resent being graded like a school kid.

Don't grade on the curve. It is essential to be consistent. It is possible to have all best performing staffs and it is likely also to give them perfect scorecards, not necessarily they have to have poor grades in terms of their performance, they too can bring promising achievement. This is due to proper monitoring and evaluating the staff by the supervisors. It is important to be a strong and successful leader. You shine when your employees shine because they are the life-blood of your organization, without whom you cannot function.

Involve others. Seek out other opinions. It is likely that you may only see a portion of what your team members are doing. Getting a 360-degree review not only helps eliminate any one-on-one bias, but also gives a richer picture of the employee's contributions. Plus, these reviews stress the importance of working together and underscore the responsibility to other team members. Feedback should always take place with another person present to ensure the message is clearly articulated and clearly understood. It also avoids nasty recriminations after the dust settles.

Take the next step. Managers should draw a specific plan for improvement focused for the future which clearly states what the employee has to do and deadlines should be set. It is sensible to give the employee the evaluation copies so that they can constantly review and have it as a future reference. Also it is advisable to have the employee sign a statement about what was discussed and what the relevant action items are

It is compulsory to keep in mind that feedback or criticism should not be a one-way system, a kind of top-down work out. It is equally vital that a manager analyses the team's potential. Employees must get a broader space to express them and not be judged harshly.

The performance evaluation should provide a forum for them to talk about their expectations of the manager and the company. This can be a difficult and awkward situation for manager as well because if he has treated them badly it would be plain enough to be jeopardized and if he has managed to maintain a good relationship then the employees will take his side. A manager can gain valuable information about how he can increase effectiveness and his employees' job satisfaction.

The following are very important for the manager to take not of so that he has efficiency from his staff and also performance appraisal is done accordingly:

Explain company goals clearly- this has to be done in very beginning at the time of hiring the staff so that they are constantly aware of what is required of them and they are reviewed accordingly. It shouldn't be that the blame comes on the manager that he had not informed and the performance therefore resulted to be poor.

Give clear job assignments- this is the everyday tasks which are to be carried out by the employees. Subordinates have to clearly underline of what they want their staff to accomplish and the time frame as well

Keep employees informed- this is mainly for the changes occurring in an organization. Employees have to keep abreast of what new things are planned for the company for instance technological changes.

Understand what motivates employees - employees are motivated through various ways such as bonuses, salary increment, appreciation, delegation. All this are the essential in bringing out the skills of the staff in assortment of activities.   

Discuss job requirements frequently - the job requirements change according to the stipulation of the dynamic world, computer skills change, management methods also transform so it's necessary to be keen on informing the staffs on this requirements.

Recognize good performance - sometimes it only takes a manager to say "good job done" to bring satisfaction to the employee not necessarily salary increment. Every good performance has to be accounted for and appreciated for.

Know employees' career goals and offers career advice - it has to be taken into consideration what the employee is trying to achieve for his or her career and assist them in their endeavors for instance to offer training. This then makes them more efficient in their everyday work.   

Know and uses employees' skills   - every employee comes with his or her skills and uses them in different ways. These may be communication skills, computer skills, management skills

Provide resources to do the job - necessary things have to be provided at the start of the job so that the employee feels at ease and has all required items to do the job diligently.    

Credit others for usable ideas - sometimes good work is achieved through team work therefore the other team partners have to appreciate all. For instance a chief accountant submits his annual report that means other assistant accountants must have compiled.

Delegate important work  - this is the way that new employees will learn about new responsibilities and handle things on their own and can make success out of it.  

Consult employees in decisions - it is probable that an employee may get the wrong idea about a particular decision made and may thinks it is in his disadvantage but it is not the case. The managers should take initiative to correct the staff and consult them.   

Try to resolve disagreements and grievances - this happens in most of the organizations due to power of some employees over the others and this usually causes strikes. Thus, it is the accountability of the manager to resolve such matters

Managers should keep in mind to receive feedback and criticism on their employees and on your own performance with grace. Then this issue should be dealt with commitment, integrity, and above all, humanness. This is advised because it should not turn out to be an injustice to either of them and both can leave the matter with integrity.

Constructive criticisms include arguments that abolish wasteful, counterproductive and worthless efforts done by both managers and employees. There are some virtues to be followed in order to straighten the environment of performance appraisal. It is in the hands of the HR and the managers to support the performance appraisal processes in order to choose the most outstanding employees and motivate them at the same time.

This issue, viewed through the lens of Kurt Lewin's force-field analysis, has critics pushing toward scrapping performance appraisals and defenders pushing back with equal force.  Performance appraisal as a process itself is placed and created in a good way but the fact is that managers do not take the initiative to comply by its laws to bring good results at the end. Employees are misguided and are made to believe that's it is not important to work diligently and therefore they lose their credits during the appraisals.

Managers sometimes push too hard for their employees to work on time which in turn makes them hate their work and feel as though they are forced to do it. However, Kurt Lewin's force-field analysis also suggests a strategy not of pushing harder but of under-cutting the opposing forces. That means the managers should work hand in hand with them and try to understand their viewpoint so that there are minimum clashes.

So then, it is likely that there subsist the opposing forces used to take action and cancel out criticisms of performance appraisals. For nearly all part performance appraisal is useful, but at the same time it is not for all time bringing the desired outcome. Some of its benefits are:

Performance appraisals are useful and valuable when they are done appropriately and within the time frame.

Performance appraisals present a much-needed forum for providing feedback and criticism to employees by their managers.

Performance appraisals provide a mechanism for setting work objectives and developmental plans for the current status and the future as well.

Performance appraisals provide a necessary degree of legal protection for the employees as well as for the company itself.

Performance appraisals provide a means of distributing pay raises and bonuses in recognition of good jobs done.

Performance appraisal systems standardize and make performance appraisal itself a fair and valid process for all its stakeholders.

These statements above are in conjunction with support for performance appraisal and have been taken to task by more than one author Yet there still seems to be a challenging or even disproving the validity of these claims to make no difference.  There still exists some kind of hindrance which is discontinuing the progress of these appraisals.

"A perhaps less typical but more candid executive might add a final benefit: the formal performance appraisal system shores up an organization's hierarchical authority system. It gives the supervising manager control over the carrots and sticks in what is essentially a carrot-and-stick management system." (Kurt Lewin's)

As we will see, I suppose it is this quality of performance appraisal systems that sustains their existence and makes them so unquestionable. Some organizations use a very poor means to conducting performance appraisal which then makes the whole system complicated and no proper outcome are resulted. Performance appraisal tools and techniques have to be modest in order to be inconsequential so that the typical merit increases by a favorable percentage for all employees.

Within performance appraisals, promotions and plum assignments are not taken into consideration and are not accounted for. However, performance appraisal systems may construct a negative impression for the employees and create a fear or grudge for the employees if not skilled properly. Needless to say, the hierarchical system of managerial authority that performance appraisal systems shore up also relies on fear.


Performance appraisal can sometimes mean no pay raise at all; they can indicate the odds of promotion are slim to none; they can preclude any choice assignments; and they can damage a career beyond repair. Such performance appraisal systems rely on fear accounts for the widespread dislike of them - and for the fact that this dislike is rarely expressed except in terms of soft criticisms or, at worst, a mild form of disgust.  It is believed that performance appraisal systems are one of the major means of pressurizing employees into "toeing the line" and otherwise submitting to managerial power. It is known to be a compulsory act within the organization and cannot be dodged. After all, getting too harsh with your criticisms of performance appraisals might make the managers a have a dreadful impact in front of their board members as well and this may then create a dilemma when it comes time for their own appraisal.

The performance appraisal systems which rely on fright also speaks volumes about the true stance of management and management's attitude toward the workforce, not to mention the HR sector and legions of consulting firms and software vendors who give confidence and support to the use of such systems.  They are not bothered at all about the fear element; indeed, I believe they do view it as something they would rather have than be devoid of.  Perhaps they've not given the matter much thought but if they have, they've chosen to carry on with their current route and the element of dread plays a key role in steering and staying that course.  Even if management and HR have to principally acknowledge the element of fear in performance appraisals they would likely shrug and say it is a necessary iniquity.

Unless and until fear can be driven from the workplace, amendments can be made and ways you created can insure not to have to endure the word-lashing of a pessimistic performance appraisal or worse, one of those warily crafted appraisals that can't be faulted for being unconstructive yet seals the employees 'providence more certainly than a deliberately negative one.

The employers can't rely on the management's compliance alone; they need enough contributions as well; they need the management to become agents acting on their behalf instead of being acquiescent instruments of managerial will. The employees need reassurance from the managers for their support so that they know they can work in a conducive and beneficial environment  The employer-employee relationship is in desperate need of redefinition and fear can't and won't accomplish that; indeed, it stands squarely in the way. Simon Legree's

Performance appraisal is known to be a failing activity within an organization because it contains the seeds of their own obliteration. The organization does not take the pain of firstly eradicating the destructive forces which exist in the operational environment such as fear and unfriendly environment.

Thus the employees think that the management's reliance on fear and their use of abusive and unacceptable language means they cannot play a significant role in successfully confronting the challenges now facing their province namely gaining the best potential efforts from committed employees.  The best they can do and are still in process of performing is to serve as a tool used to correct acquiescence - and, as they have done for so many years now, shore up that hierarchical system of managerial authority.


In today's world, any organization can use the performance appraisal as a means of strategically estimating the basic pay, compensation, benefits and other rewards of their employees by various tools to increase operational efficiency and enhance performance. Yet in the first place it is very central for the organization to pull towards, motivate and retain the best people who will be a key influence on its future success.

This all depends on how the managers have trained and reviewed their employee's progress from day one so that as the appraisals take place they are in full confidence of which of their employees deserves the increment and appreciation. Not observing the employee makes it harder and unfair to make judgments as they might have been the best employees and not recognized or vice versa.

Recently it has come to the notice that skilled and educated people make the integral and central part of the organization without whom the success of their organization is not possible. This brings the organization to be placed at a competitive advantage also. Thus, managers have to make a point of the following in order to sustain in the market; successful pay, rewards, compensation and benefits strategies as these are the main mechanism that can ensure people are paid justifiably, their work to be recognized and rewarded for the excellent performance, and aid the retention of top-quality staff.

For such high goals to be achieved the managers have to be designed to link and interact with the employees' performance, so that desired outcome it achieved and there is a substantial improvement in the productivity of the company and at the same time the employee's role is emphasized in the process. It is very essential indeed to recognize the employee development needs, require meaningful communication between a supervisor and employee and recognize their overall accomplishments.

Even though the employees sometimes work in similar conditions, some work in such different circumstances that these are seen as an important part of the employment exchange and fact, people also vary in their expectations of what contributions they deem important. Also some of them bring drastic improvement to the organizations and it is very crucial that these employees are appreciated and are retained in the organization through increments in salaries. Much devotion is expected of some groups of employees, little of others. Disparity in jobs is always present yet when these differences in jobs and their serving become great enough, organizations respond by specializing the concept of pay, compensation, and reward decisions for the group involved. This creates a sense of fairness for the employees concerned.

The principle of performance pay had long been argued over and not properly utilized in some of the companies and equally resisted by the unions. But a partnership approach to the issue, whereby unions and management work together to resolve organizational problems, and the work of a joint management-union project team has breached the principle, and resulted in new.

The following have to be critically used in order to bring the best performing employees to their peak:

Eliminate their fear component and make them realize that the management is in favor of them to performance in an excellent pace and efficiently complete their tasks.

It is very important to judge the employees fairly and make them seen in an equal stance so that each one of them realizes their output is important to the progress of the organization.

Constantly inquire if the employees are not performing well to know what is hindering them and solve their tribulations so that they know they are being cared for.

Make use of the performance appraisal tools in an appropriate way so that the employees are appreciated for their good work and they are made aware of it. This in the due course can motivate the staff to such limits that their performance can be outstanding.

Thus, despite having proper and efficient performance appraisal tools it is still in the hands of the managers to handle their employees in a superior and enthusiastic way so that they in turn are motivated and bring good results to the organization in terms of productivity as well as profitability.

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