Organizational Background of Asda Supermarket

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Personnel administration has many facets including the appraisal procedure for the organization employees bearing in mind their performances. The basic intention of developing a Performance Evaluation System (PES) is to help out each and every employee in recognizing their work capability in the present job. Exquisitely, a good performance appraisal should comprise of a two way feedback among the appraiser and the appraisee. This usually involves a critical assessment of the shortcomings not noted earlier to a point where the main focal point is the developmental need of the employees.

The Performance Management System (PMS) is the main cardinal point of all HR functions comprising of planning, training and development, rewards, benefits and compensation, career planning, benefits management etc. in short all employee welfare is dependent on the PMS. Whereas on the contrary there are some problems as well in the implementation of an effective PMS that comprises of lack of feedback non standardized criteria, non confidentiality, personal biases etc.

There are other serious factors that possess a threat to HR policy makers when efforts are put into making the existing system change. Problems like too much complicated Evaluation Performa, fear of un-popularity/contradiction, one officer writing 400 to 500 performance appraisal reports every year - many of whom he never met - and the like are just to mention a few.

It is hence necessary for the Human Resource Management to design and enforce a good PMS that makes sure that the evaluation system is fair and trustworthy and that doesn't create unnecessary differences.

ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND:

The case study of Asda HR department that how do they evaluate and judge its employees will be carried out in form of research on the upcoming months. ASDA is a subsidiary of WALMART (USA) and one of the leading retail stores of UK. In more than 300 stores of Asda there are usually 250-500 plus employees working in different shifts. Asda became a part of Walmart (USA) around more than 10 years ago. It has a strong retention policy which is evident from the fact that more than 170,000 employees work for Asda and out of which around 75,000 approximately have completed their 5 years service which contributes to 20% employee turnover rate annually. All these can be due to the fact that it has a strong friendly policy that includes staff discounts, money off vouchers, plus other benefits. The other key factor that plays an important part in retention is the ability to progress from a colleague to a manager. According to Sarah Dickins the retail people director 'we do a lot of work listening to colleagues to see how we can improve the business and respond to that'.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:

This research would aim to judge the consequence of performance appraisal means on employees and to determine the connection between the colleague's performance and the process of Performance appraisal.

The main focus of the research would be on questions like:

  • Is the current performance evaluation system fair and transparent? Employee's satisfaction with the appraisal system.
  • How to link PES with rewards, recognition, training needs assessment, coaching, promotion, placement, succession policy, career planning etc?

LITERATURE REVIEW:

Every person has its own perception regarding Performance appraisal, their own point of view. But what (Becton, Portis & Schraeder 2007) said is it is a method of judging an employee performance related to his job and how efficiently is he in his performance. The conventional way of Performance Appraisal is that once a year the employee meets his rater or appraiser who rates how well is the job performance.

As stated by Douglas McGregor in Harvard Business Review article "An Uneasy Look at Performance Appraisal" (quoted by Richard C. Grote) the goals of an organization's performance appraisal program are designed to meet three needs one for the organization and two for the individual:

  • They provide systematic judgments to back up salary increases, promotions, transfers, and sometimes demotions and terminations.
  • They are means of telling a subordinate how he is doing and suggesting needed changes in his behavior, attitudes, skills or job knowledge, they let him know where he stands with the boss.
  • They are also being increasingly used as basis for the coaching and counseling of the individual by the superior.

"A common misconception is that the sole purpose of Performance appraisal is to inform employees how their performance has been rated. That's unfortunate, because a productive performance appraisal can accomplish much more. A productive appraisal, along with reviewing the quality of the employee's work, serves as a work session between supervisor and employee in which you take the time and effort to meet with an individual and set new goals and objectives for the coming year. A productive appraisal recognizes that people are an incredibly valuable resource with specific needs and goals". (Paul Falcone, Randi Toler Sachs 2007)

Heydel (quoted by Goel 2008) stated that " The process of evaluating the performance and qualifications of the employees in terms of the requirements of the job for which he is employed for the purpose of administration including placement, selection for promotions, providing financial rewards and other actions which require different treatment among the members of a group as distinguished from the action affecting all members equally.

As stated by Tom Coens, Mary Jenkins (2000) does appraisal work. "Due to its inherent design flaws, appraisal produces distorted and unreliable data about their contribution of employees. Consequently, the resulting documentation is not useful for staffing decision and often does not hold up in court. Too often, appraisal destroys human spirit and, in the span of a 30 minute meeting, can transform a vibrant, highly committed employee into a demoralized, indifferent wallflower who reads the want ads on the weekend. With vast majority of organizations repeatedly experiencing disappointing results and problems with appraisal, we wonder why there isn't more discussion about dropping it, rather than trying to fix it."

"In many organizations performance appraisal systems remain one of the great paradoxes of effective human resource management. On one hand, appraisal systems can provide valuable performance information to a number of critical human resource activities, such as the allocation of rewards, e.g., merit pay, promotions; feedback on the development and assessment of training needs; other human resource systems evaluation, e.g., selection predictors; and performance documentation for legal purposes"(Cleveland, Murphy, and Williams, 1989). "Appraisal systems seem to offer much potential for enhancing the effectiveness of human resource decisions and for satisfying employees' need for performance feedback" (Ilgen, Fisher, and Taylor, 1979). On the other hand, there is evidence that appraisal systems are a practical challenge to the academics who often design them and to the managers and employees who must use them. As Banks and Murphy (1985: 335) noted: "Organizations continue to express disappointment in performance appraisal systems despite advances in appraisal technology. Appraisal reliability and validity still remain major problems in most appraisal systems, and new (and presumably improved) appraisal systems are often met with substantial resistance. In essence, effective performance appraisal in organizations continues to be a compelling but unrealized goal." This negativity is echoed by practitioners in the private and public sectors (George, 1986; Meyer, 1991). It seems fair to conclude that many organizational appraisal systems have failed to realize their full potential contribution to organizational effectiveness.

M. Susan Taylor, Kay B. Tracy, Monika K. Renard, J. Kline Harrison, Stephen J. Carroll.Due Process in Performance Appraisal: A Quasi-Experiment in Procedural Justice. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 40, 1995

Performance appraisal has widened as a concept and as a set of practices and in the form of performance management has become part of a more strategic approach to integrating HR activities and business policies. As a result of this, the research on the subject has moved beyond the limited confines of measurement issues and accuracy of performance ratings and has begun to focus more of social and motivational aspects of appraisal.

It breaks these down in terms of the nature of appraisal and the context in which it operates. The former is considered in terms of contemporary thinking on the content of appraisal (contextual performance, goal orientation and self awareness) and the process of appraisal (appraiser-appraisee interaction, and multi-source feedback). The discussion of the context of appraisal concentrates on cultural differences and the impact of new technology. In reviewing these emerging areas of research, the article seeks to explore some of the implications for appraisal practice at both organizational and individual levels. (Fletcher C 2001)

Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Volume 74, Number 4, November 2001, pp. 473-487(15).

Because of the pivotal role that performance appraisal plays in managing human resources (Cardy & Dobbins,1994), there has been a great deal of research conducted to understand appraisals. Murphy and Cleveland (1991) noted that much of this research has focused on such issues as appraisal formats and minimizing bias from raters. One of the issues that they suggested that warrants further attention is the criteria by which appraisal systems are judged. They suggested that one such research area that needs to be addressed is the reactions of the ratees to the appraisal system. Murphy and Cleveland proposed that research should seek to understand how appraisal accuracy affects reactions to the appraisal. Cardy and Dobbins (1994) mirrored this sentiment and argued that such perceptual reactions to the appraisal system are clearly important to the appraisal system's operational effectiveness.

Maier (1958) had pointed out that appraises defensiveness is an expected reaction since the manager, in discussing his appraisal of a subordinate's performance with the man, is automatically cast in the role of judge and the subordinate becomes the defendant. With their respective roles structured in this way, the natural reaction of the subordinate is to become defensive when criticized and, to the degree that he is defensive rather than constructive, he is less likely to take action necessary to improve his performance. His defensiveness is in effect a denial of responsibility for the short coming cited. To show improvement in the aspect of performance criticized would be negating the validity of the defence.

Performance Appraisal Based On Self-Review, Journal Of Personnal Psychology 1968, Volume 21, issue 4, Pg 421-430.

Lewis and Rock (1967) stated that "whether an organization accepts or denies the usefulness of performance appraisal, whether it adopts a formal appraisal system or not, top management is constantly appraising the performance of its subordinate managers. The latter are doing the same to their subordinates. They are doing because performance appraisal, formal or informal lies at the heart of the art of managing. Good managers do it well; poor managers do it less satisfactory; only bad managers do it not at all". (quoted by S.Mufeed Ahmad).

Although feedback is advocated as a means for influencing performance, empirical investigations indicate that the effect of feedback on performance is not uniformly positive. In the proposed model, reactions to feedback, not feedback per se, influence performance. In response to the lack of research on causal mechanisms linking feedback to performance and calls for such research, reactions are proposed to mediate the influence of feedback-related characteristics on performance. Feedback-related characteristics central to models of performance feedback that also corresponded with the three characteristics of the due process model served as antecedents to reactions. Using longitudinal data and previous performance as a control variable, results of structural equation modeling evidenced strong support for the proposed model as antecedents substantially related to ratees' reactions, and ratees' reactions indeed influenced subsequent performance. Organizations should design appraisal systems in accordance with the due process framework and train managers in conducting feedback discussions.

I.M. Jawahar, Group Organization Management August 16, 2010 vol. 35 no. 4 494-526.

Recently, performance appraisal researchers have adopted a cognitive approach to analyzing judgment processes in performance appraisal. While this approach allows researchers to tap a wealth of knowledge applicable to the appraisal context, this line of research is likely to widen the already existing gap between research and practice. We argue that coordination of the talents of researchers and practitioners is essential for narrowing the gap. Specifically, we suggest researchers focus their research on the best methods of ensuring use of relevant and valid data in appraisal, given organizational constraints. We also suggest practitioners focus on determining observable and measurable aspects of performance, and thus, specify appropriate appraisal content. We also note that cognitive process research has promise for increasing raters' ability to judge accurately, but that this approach does not necessarily address the rater's willingness to provide accurate ratings.

Cristina G. Banks, Kevin R. Murphy. Towards Narrowing the Research-Practice Gap in Performance Appraisal, Personnel Psychology, Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 335-345, June 1985

As stated by lefkowitz, 2000,the extent to which appraisers like appraise influences their assessment of them and is the same true for peers and subordinates giving ratings in a 360- degree feedback exercise? Unfortunately the answer seems to be YES. There is also evidence that 360-degree feedback assessments are no more immune to ethnic bias than other form of appraisal (Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe 2003)

Clive Fletcher, (2004) Appraisal and Feedback, Making performance review work, (3rd ed) CIPD publication.

Self-appraisal also may be used to help employees improve their job performance. Self appraisal may complement supervisory ratings. According to Bassett & Meyer, 1968, self-appraisal can serve several distinct functions within an organization. Self-appraisal may be used as additional data points. Because intersource reliability can be considered a precondition for evaluation validity, serious disagreement among sources raises fundamental concerns about evaluation process as a whole further if disagreement between self appraiser and supervisor ratings is not extreme, then self appraisal can be combined with these other evaluations, increasing overall reliability.

According to Thornton 1968 self appraisal are used to gather performance information that is either not obtained or impossible to obtain through other channels, and reducing criterion deficiency by including dimensions of performance that are over looked by other evaluation sources.

Self-Appraisal in Performance Evaluation: Development versus Evaluation

Donald J. Campbell and Cynthia Lee The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 302-314.

Significance:

In context of the above literature we would like to see in our study the relevance of the ongoing appraisal system in ASDA. It is important for the colleagues to receive feedback from employers or managers in a consistent and on going basis. The feedback in performance appraisal is significant in showing what the colleague is doing well at the store or what can be improved. The current method of self-appraisal that is being followed at ASDA is it more effective and is there any biases in feedback from the rater. The thinkers and experts of modern times have grouped the primary users and purposes of evaluation into the following three categories.

Information - resulting from two-way communication between supervisor and subordinates assisting the former in assessing the motivation, skills, training needs, selection procedures, placements, placements, transfers etc of the latter

Motivation - which has a direct bearing on the productivity of the employees.

Developmental - emphasizing through use of appraisal the management's responsibility to counsel and aid employees in realizing their potentials.

It is therefore a foregone conclusion that the adoption of a better performance appraisal system is bound to result a remarkable improvement in performance of organizations.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

The research will be based upon the data, which will be collected from the colleagues and managers in ASDA. Data will also be gathered from the Personnel department and the HR manager in ASDA. The colleagues and managers will also be a part of this research in order to provide data for this dissertation.

As I am working for ASDA it would not be any big dilemma for me to get the data in completion of my dissertation. I must be able to get as much as primary data as I need through interviews and questionnaire.

Collected data will be analyzed certainly on basis of research question and comparison of claims about the process from HR department and response got after conducting research.

RESEARCH METHODS:

Due to the nature of the research, qualitative and quantitative both methods of research will be followed. If we go in depth into this research, it really has qualitative as well as quantitative concerns. That is the reason why I have decided to have mix of both methods of data analysis. Hypothesis will also be required in this research so those will also made by selecting some variables. Data collection will be primary data or secondary data. Primary data will be collected from the colleagues and managers in form of interviews and questioners. Whereas the secondary data will be collected from journals, annual reports and through internet.

DATA ANALYSIS:

The analysis will be done on the data being collected in form of manual analysis and through different applications like excel, etc. Qualitative analysis will be used to analyze open-ended questions on the survey. Quantitative analysis will be done for questions in survey using different application to determine strength and weakness of the performance appraisal. A detailed report after the research survey and analysis will be submitted.

 


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