Appraising Employee Performance

Need for Appraising Employee Performance in Organizations

There are several reasons to appraise subordinates performance. First, appraisals play, or should play, an integral role in the employer’s performance management process; it does little good to translate the employer’s strategic goals into specific employees’ goals, and then train the employees. Second, the appraisal lets the boss and subordinate develop a plan for correcting any deficiencies the appraisal might have unearthed, and to reinforce the things the subordinate does correctly. Third, appraisals should serve a useful career planning purpose by providing the opportunity to review the employee’s career plans in light of his or her exhibited strengths and weakness. And, last but not least, the appraisal almost always affect the employer’s salary raise and promotional decisions.

In reviewing the appraisal tools we discuss below don’t miss the forest for the trees. It doesn’t matter which tool you use if you’re less than candid when your subordinate is under-performing. Not all managers are devotees of such candor, but some firms like GE are famous for hard-hearted appraisals. GE’s former CEO,  Jack Welch is of the opinion that, for instance, that there’s nothing crueler than telling someone who’s doing a mediocre job that he or she is doing well. Someone who might have had the chance to correct bad behavior or find a more appropriate vocation may instead end up spending years in a dead-end situation, only to leave when a tough boss comes along.

There are many practical motivations for giving soft appraisals: the fear of having to hire and train someone new; the unpleasant reaction of the appraisee; or a company appraisal process that’s not conducive to candor for instance.… Read the rest

Human Resources as a Strategic Partner in an Organization

The general scenario in most companies is as follows. HR management teams have well-developed visions of their departments, their roles and responsibilities. But, the senior management is generally skeptical of HR’s role in the firm’s success. They generally consider HR to just be another necessary appendage but not something that can contribute to the success of the company. Even if the senior management does believe that human capital is their most prized possession and asset, they cannot understand how the HR team can make this belief come alive.

There is one reason for all of this. Human capital is an intangible asset and HR’s influence on firm performance is difficult to measure. The standard elements of a firm’s resource architecture that are measured include total compensation, employee turnover, cost per hire, percentage of employees that undergo performance appraisals and percentage employee satisfaction. The question to be asked is: Are these the measures crucial to implementing the firm’s strategy? This is clearly not the case. Interesting attributes would include a committed workforce, competency development programs, etc. But, it is very difficult to imagine measures for these quantities. Hence, in the current state of HR there is a clear rift between what is measured and what needs to be measured.

The role of HR is no more just administrative. It has a much broader, connected and strategic role to play. But, these statements must be substantiated. The reasons why HR must be considered as a strategic asset must be highlighted. A strategic asset is something difficult to trade or imitate.… Read the rest

The Strategic Role of HR

As people become the key competitive advantage in any industry, the human resource (HR) development function will and should play a more strategic role. It should go beyond its mere administrative support function to operations and front line departments. Whether or not company views HR strategically may decide whether market share, sales, or profits would increase or not. An effective HR strategy becomes equally decisive as the company‘s marketing strategy.

Technology too is changing HR roles. As industries, specifically the services sector, and the way they compete become knowledge-based, HR performance indicators will shift from manpower and man-hours supplied to brainpower and brain hours delivered. The key result areas in people management will also shift from production and quantity to productivity and quality. Capability, measured in employee ideas generated and implemented, and productivity gained, will be more important than capacity, measured in man-hours available, man-hours lost, absenteeism, etc.

The current HR function is very much configured like the company‘s purchasing department. People, like parts and supplies, are requisitioned by user departments based on depletion and growth rates of their operations. Both resources are screened for quality control and cost or budget constraints. The only slight difference is that unlike purchased parts, people are trained or prepared before they are sent to the requisitioning parties which may train them further before actual deployment or usage. HR is also involved in the replacement, termination and retirement process of unusable people assets, much like the handling of depreciated equipment. In short, most HR systems exist only for replenishment and maintenance of a resource called people.… Read the rest

Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors

Edgar Schein, one of the founders in the field in modern organizational psychology, pointed out that, every one of us has a particular orientation towards work. As a result of which, we all approach our work with a set of priority and certain values. This concept is known as ‘Career Anchors’. It represents one’s combination of perceived career competence and includes talents, motives, values and attitudes that give stability and direction to a person’s career. It is regarded as the ‘motivator’ or ‘driver’ of that person. The Career Anchor depicts one’s highest priority needs and the factors of work lives one may not be willing to give up. Many people are not really clear about their need and competencies and make an inappropriate career choice, that lead to dissatisfaction and frustration at work. Knowing their Career Anchor properly, people develop sufficient insight to make intelligent and appropriate career choices.

Importance and Types of Career Anchors

Almost all organisations claim to serve the best interests of employees. In practice, they “manage” their workers careers with the best interest of the organization, not the employees. Very often, people tend to select a wrong career and find it incompatible at workplaces with their true values, resulting in feelings of unrest and discontent and lost in productivity. This necessitates becoming self-reliant, to choose and manage one’s career.

Career Anchors help an individual in conceptualizing his own perceived career. It encompasses one’s core areas of competence, motives, and career values. Very often, this perceived career anchor goes against organisational career plans and employees develop a sense of dissonance or certain incongruity about their career plans.… Read the rest

Outsourcing of Training and Development

Organizations now are using a unique approach to provide training internally by outsourcing their training departments. This they have found is a way that reduces costs improves productivity and relives them from the need of constant upgradation. Handing over the organizations training function over to “experts” in many ways also improves the quality of training. These experts have a lot of advantages; they are constantly upgrading themselves to differentiate themselves from the competition and add value to their clients, by virtue of the multiple clients they serve – they have an upfront feel of the best industry practices; training costs can be tracked more objectively and can help align your training’s with your strategic objectives in a far better manner.

Outsourcing of training and development activities means comprehensive, end-to-end outsourcing—from the management of the training function to the design, delivery and reporting. Training BPO refers to the transfer of management and execution of one or more complete ongoing training and development processes or the entire training function to an external services provider. For many companies, outsourcing employee training and development makes financial as well as business sense.

Outsourcing of training and development functions makes a lot of sense for most organizations. The training function is often a decentralized operation. Most companies are unsure of how much they spend on training across the enterprise, and don’t really know what or how much they need. Of course the process of identification, analysis, design, development, deployment and evaluation varies from group to group, department to department and division to division, even within an organization.… Read the rest

Role of Case Studies in Employee Training and Development

One way to help trainees learn analytical and problem solving skills is by presenting a story (called a case) about people in an organization who are facing a problem or decision. Cases may be faced on actual events involving real people in an organization, or they can be fictional. Business case studies are included in college text books and courses in management, public administration, law, sociology, and similar subjects. They are increasingly available using video and other media. While cases vary in complexity and detail, trainees should be given enough information to analyze the situation and recommend their own solutions. In solving the problem, the trainees are generally required to use a rational problem-solving process that includes the following steps:

  1. Restating important facts.
  2. Drawing inferences from the facts.
  3. Stating the problem or problems.
  4. Developing alternative solutions and then stating consequences of each.
  5. Determining and supporting a course of action.

Proponents of the case study method argue that this form of problem solving within a management setting offers illustrations of the concepts employees are respected to learn and use, improves communications skills, and facilities the linking between theory and practice. Proponents also claim that cases allow participants discuss, share, and debate the merits of different inferences, problems, and alternative courses of action. Such insight can help employees to develop better analytical skills and improve their ability to integrate new information.

A business case study can present a real-life situation, which lets trainees to consider what they would do. It can present a wide variety of skills in which applying knowledge is important.… Read the rest