Friday, May 05, 2006

WAPL 2006: Performance Appraisal: Why? What If? What Else?

Patty Dwyer's presentation provided an overview of the pros and cons of traditional performance appraisal methods, and offered alternative methods to provide your employees with valuable feedback.

A really good job description is necessary before a performance appraisal; update job descriptions if necessary.

Performance evaluation is defined as the process of evaluating how someone is functioning.
  • an employee's performance is rated
  • ratings are for a specified time period
  • one system is applied to all employees
  • mandatory
  • ratings are preserved by the employer, i.e. kept on file
Ratings in themselves are not motivational, and can instead be de-motivational.

Why do we do performance appraisals?
  • to assess how well the individual is doing their job
  • we want to them to have a motiovational impact for the employee
  • to award a pay increase
  • to justify a layoff
  • to develop coaching
  • as a basis for discipline
  • the board requires it
Traditional performance appraisal weaknesses:
  • they're time-consuming
  • personnel are not trained to provide feedback
  • the performance appraisal system isn't integrated well with other company systems
  • goals for the performance appraisal system are incompatible
Common rater biases & errors:
  • categorization and stereotyping
  • favoritism
  • gender, age and race biases
  • leniency
  • severity
  • halo and horn
  • recency (i.e., who can remember what happened 6 months ago)
Peer appraisal:
  • changes the psychological context
  • peers can provide relevant information
  • potentially more accurate than traditional performance appraisal
  • requires acceptance by all on the team
  • better for development than traditional performance appraisal systems
  • gives employees a voice when being appraised
  • raters need to see the value of their efforts
  • feedback seen as a valuable tool
  • still need to agree upon standards
Why do we keep performance appraisals if they don't work?
  • they're legally required
  • because we want the results
  • we think people need feedback
  • we need to determine merit raises
Reasons why you might want to abolish performance appraisal:
  • it erodes performance
  • it's damaging to morale and motivation
  • it fosters a short-term view
  • it fosters fear and lack of trust
  • the prcess is expensive and time-consuming
What do people value?
  • feedback & recognition
  • involvement in job design
Coaching the poor performer:
  • annual performance appraisal isn't the right place to coach the poor performer
  • instead use a separate evaluative process with goals and
Ways in which you can recognize employees that aren't monetrary or pay-based:
  • letter of commendation
  • announcement in newsletter
  • peer-nominated awards
  • passes to local businesses
  • best parking spot for a week
  • offer creative benefits like "bring your pet to work day"
  • consider sabbatical leaves
  • pizza party
Can give up performance appraisals?
  • eliminate ratings if you can; if not use pass/fail if you must; try a 1-5 rating system
  • make the process collaborative, giving the employee as much of the responsibility as possible; give employees a feedback source
  • provide an alternative annual feedback session
Tips for the recovering appraiser:
  • don't require appraisals to be placed in the personnel file; perhaps the supervisor and employee could keep it themselves
  • instead of performance appraisals, use a written feedback system with no reference to pay
  • require performance appraisals only for those who need improvement

1 comment:

Nanette said...

Hi Joy and Nicole,
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to keep the WAPL conference blog for the rest of us. Your summaries of the workshops and presentations are quite helpful, and the links you've given us are terrific! It's obvious that you put a lot of time and energy into this project, and I bet I'm not the only one in the blogosphere who is quite grateful.