Using rating scales

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An appraisal gives a manager to discuss with an employee their progress in the organisation. They can take place several times in a year, for example it could be that a given organisation always holds appraisals after Christmas because that is their busy period and they would like to review how employees coped during this time. Performance appraisal is a more precise form of appraising; it is basically a process of evaluating performance analytically and of providing feedback on which performance adjustments should be made. Performance appraisal can be determined by the following equation:

Desired performance – Actual performance = Need for action Setting targets for an appraisal Many organisations operate a staff appraisal scheme; they are basically a form of target or objective setting. They are usually conducted by the employee’s manager/supervisor. The employee who is being appraised and the appraiser will together construct targets to work towards in the future. The targets could be based on a review of performance in a previous period. If a previous appraisal has taken place, then the manager and employee will look over the previous targets and objectives in order to see if they have been met, if not, they will discuss why they could not be met.

It is significant that the targets given to employees are realistic, for example if they told that they should be able to use a new software package within 6 months, then the organisation needs to provide this software and sufficient training. Appraisals can therefore cost organisations money, but this should be looked upon as an investment as the employee will hopefully become a more productive member of staff after meeting their targets.

Using rating scales This enables a manger to use a system whereby he/she can give a score or rating for the employee’s performance in various tasks/projects they have completed in their job. This allows employees to understand exactly how their manager and superiors believe they have performed. A manager should be accurate and truthful with their rating or score as it is important that employees are aware of any significant weaknesses they may have so that they can be corrected as soon as possible.

Linking appraisals to pay Some appraisals are linked to pay whereby the employee will receive a cash bonus if their manager feels they have exceeded or met expectations. This would especially be used in jobs that also incorporate performance-related pay, such as in the sales departments. A cash bonus is also an incentive and form of motivation for the employees to work towards.

Linking appraisals to career development and training In some cases, the targets set for employees may require further extensive training to allow them to realistically meet their targets. This is then linked it career development, for example an employee who is constantly over performing in their jobs is obviously worthy of a promotion, which will require training to prepare for the new tasks and added responsibility. Appraisals give managers the chance and ability to decide which employees, if any, deserve this kind of promotion.

This can also motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to climb the career ladder, and not have them believing that they are stuck in their current jobs forever. This enables employees to plan what job they want to work towards, and through appraisals, managers can help them get there by setting them targets that lead towards the job they desire.

Self-appraisal This allows employees to think up their own targets for themselves, they are more likely to understand their weaknesses in comparison to their manager. By enabling employees to set their own targets they are likely to be more motivated to meet them as they set them themselves. These targets set by employees for themselves should not only benefit them, but the organisation as well, for example if their deadline is to meet deadlines early, they will receive praise for this and their managers will be happy to receive the work well in time.

Appraisee report This enables both the manager and employee to produce a report on one another; this would include judgements on performance. This would especially help employees to feel empowered, as their views and opinions are being taken into consideration and expressed.

Issues involved in appraisal systems It is important for managers and employees to understand the importance of appraisals and that they should be taken seriously. A bad appraisal could cause a lot of problems in the workplace socially, for example a poorly prepared appraisal would give the employee the impression their manager does not really care and this could demotivate the employee. If a manager and a certain employee already have a bad relationship, then an appraisal between the two would be uncomfortable for both parties and could cause further issues and problems.

Management/supervisory styles Managers and supervisors are all different in the way they perform their role, however they tend to adapt to at least one if not more of the following styles: Democratic – In a democratic work environment, the culture and atmosphere is very much fair in the sense that everyone gets their say when important decisions take place. Employee input is weaved into all actions taking place within the organisation; if someone disagrees with something then they will have the opportunity to express this view freely. There may be specific programs in place to solicit employee suggestions; there could be a culture of employee involvement in every decision that impacts working conditions.

Consultative – In this management style, managers and other seniors consult employees before making decisions in the organisation. The main aim of doing this is to gather as much information possible from the internal stakeholders (employees) before decisions are made. This is always a great way to get other peoples opinions which can aid and assist when making decisions, especially difficult ones. Organisations that use consultative management are likely to have a good communication network between departments and layers, therefore it is likely that this does not take place on wide scale within big corporate organisations their size holds them back from doing this as effectively. The types of managers who use this system possess good listening and communication skills.

Autocratic – This is basically the opposite to consultative, managers make decisions without consulting others, they often instruct employees instead of asking for their opinion in a given situation. This management style is likely to cause negative work attitudes and create a lack of motivation within the workplace as a result of poor communication in the working environment. Without receiving input from all employees, bad decisions could be made as the managers do not always no what is best for the organisation. However, they may see an autocratic management system as timesaving as less communication is needed to take place before decisions are made

Supportive – this styles helps boost employee motivation and confidence, even when they have the ability to undertake the task in hand, they can still benefit from the support of their manager. A manger is likely to work alongside employees and praise them in order to boost motivation levels. Supportive management is about finding out how the employees feel, and if anything can be changed in order to improve working conditions for them.

Collaborative – In a collaborative working environment, workers and mangers work together in friendly atmosphere. This improves communication and employee relationships as well as ensuring everyone can express their view and opinion relating to the given project of work. For example, if a group of employees are working on one project and one of them overlooks something, his/her colleague could spot this can correct the error. This therefore enables employees to Achieve collective results that they would be incapable of accomplishing working alone. An example of collaborative working is a team of mangers and employees all brainstorming possible solutions to a problem that has arisen in the workplace.

Passive – A passive manager could be described as an individual who tends to observe their staff and doesn’t make decisions themselves. Instead, they enable subordinates to make decisions, whilst they observe. This can be inspirational and motivational for employees, as they are given the freedom to act independently. However, passive management assumes that staff are fully qualified and experienced to make the best decisions, which is not necessary true in most situations. As each individual will be carrying out tasks on their own accord, it is likely that different methods will clash with one another, resulting in failure to complete tasks properly. Passive management provides employees with a chance to prove themselves as trustworthy and organised individuals.

Directive – This is a common technique used within organisations, it basically operates via an instruction/task being set by a member of senior management, and this instruction is then cascaded down the organisation among the relevant staff. Directive management is basically one-way communication and can create problems among staff and management as the information delivered in such a directive management.

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