Traditional Methods of Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal has been considered as a most significant and indispensable tool for an organization, for the information it provides highly useful in making decisions regarding various personal aspects at work place. The performance appraisal activity is very much sensitive. It leads to very positive side, if the system operated in a very systematic manner. The same system also leads to destruction of the entire work lance, if proper care had not been taken in the process of performance appraisal system.

Traditional Methods of Performance Appraisal in HRM

Traditional Methods of Performance Appraisal

Traditional methods of performance appraisal lay emphasis on the rating of the individual’s personality traits, such as initiative, dependability, drive, creativity, integrity, intelligence, leadership potential and so on.

1. Rankings Method

It is the oldest and simplest method of performance appraisal, by which the man and his performance are considered as an entity by the rater. No attempt is made to fractionalize the ratee or his performance; the ‘whole man’ is compared with the ‘whole man’. It involves raking all employees according to job performance and commitment to the organization. It is the oldest and simplest formal systematic method of performance appraisal in which one employee is compared with all others for the purpose of pacing them in a simple rank order of worth. The staff can be ranked from the highest to the lowest or from the best to the worst. The relative position of each man is tested in terms of his numerical rank. It may also be done by ranking a person on his job performance against that of another member of a competitive group by placing him as a number one or two or three in total group. The greatest limitation of this method is that in practice it is very difficult to compare a single individual with human beings having varying behavior traits. The method only tells us how a man stands in relation to the other s in the group but does not indicate how much better or worse he is than another.

2. Paired Comparison Method

In this method, each employee is compared with other employees on one – on – one basis, usually based on one trait only. The rater is provided with a bunch of slips each containing a pair of names; the rater puts a tick mark against the employee whom he considers the better of the two. The number of times this employee is compared as better with others determines his or her final ranking.

The rater is provided with a bunch of slips each containing a pair of names, the rater puts a tick mark against the employee whom he considers the better of the two. The number of times this employee is compared as better with others determines his or her final ranking. The result of these comparisons is tabulated and a rank is assigned to each individual. This method is not suitable when a group is larger because, in that case, the number of judgements becomes excessively large.

3. Grading Method

In this method, certain categories of worth are established in advance and carefully defined. There can be three categories established from employees: outstanding, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory. There can be more than three grades. Employee performance is compared with grade definitions. The employee is, then, allocated to the grade that best describes his or her performance.

4. Graphic Ratings

It is a common method, which uses either a numerical scale (1-5) such as ‘poor’, ‘average’, ‘good’, ‘very good’, ‘superior’ or rate various attributes of employee performance. This method is popular because it is easy to construct; adaptable to a wide range of jobs and tasks, and easily understood by raters and employees.

5. Check-List Method

The basic purpose of utilizing check-list method is to ease the evaluation burden upon the rater. In this method, a series of statements, i.e., questions with their answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are prepared by the concerned officials. The check-list is, then, presented to the rater to tick appropriate answers relevant to the appraisee. Each question carries a weight age in prepare the final scores for all appraisees based on all questions.

6. Critical Incidents

This method involves recording on-the-job behavior over a period of time. The employee’s Officer keeps a ‘diary’ of examples of effective and ineffective job performance. Thus the behaviour of the employees in terms performance in different occasions are recorded and assessed and then used as background to overall assessment.

7. Forced Distribution Method

This method was evolved by Tiffen to eliminate the central tendency of rating most of the employees at a higher end of the scale. The method assumes that employees’ performance level confirms to a normal statistical distribution i.e.10, 20, 30, 20, and 10 per cent. This is useful for rating a large number of employees’ job performance and promotability. It tends to eliminate or reduce bias. It is also highly simple to understand and easy to apply in apprising, performance of employees in organizations. It suffers from the drawback that if all distribution grades improve similarly, no single grade would rise in a rating.

8. Graphic Rating Scale Method

The graphic rating scale is one of the most popular and simplest techniques for appraising performance. It is also known as linear rating scale. In this method, the printed appraisal form is used to appraise each employee. The form lists traits such as quality and reliability and a range of job performance characteristics from unsatisfactory to outstanding for each traits. The rating is done on the basis of points on the continuum. The common practice is to follow five point scales. The rater rates each appraisee by checking the score that best describes his or her performance for each trait. At last, all assigned values for the traits are then totalled.

9. Essay Method

It is the simplest one among various appraisal methods available. In this method, the rater writes a narrative description on an employee’s streghts, weaknesses, past performance, potential and suggestions for improvement. Its positive points are that it is simple in use. It does not required complex formats and extensive/specific  training to complete it.

10. Field Review Method

When there is a reason to suspect rater’s biasedness or his or her rating appears to be quite higher than others, these are neutralized with the help of a review process. The review process is usually conducted by the personnel officer in the HR department. The review process involves the following activities: a) Identify areas of inter-rater disagreement, b) Help the group arrive at a consensus and, c) Ensure that each rater connives of the standard similarity. However, the process is a time-consuming one. The  supervisors generally resent what they considered the staff interference. Hence, the method is not widely used.

11. Confidential Report

It is the traditional way of appraising employees mainly in the Government Departments. Evaluation is made by the immediate boss or supervisor for giving effect to promotion and transfer. Usually a structured format is devised to collect information on employee’s strengths, weakness, intelligence, attitude, characteristics, attendance, and discipline and so on. Its drawbacks include it is a subjective evaluation based on evaluator’s impression about the appraisee rather than on facts and figures. As the feedback is not given to the appraisee, the appraisal remains confined to evaluation than development. Feedback, if any, is given only in case of adverse reports.

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