Introduction: It is a widely held view that people are the most important resource in any organisation. As a matter of fact, organisations would not exist without human resources. However, it is important to recognise that people have different abilities and hence their contributions to the success of an organisation vary. In an effort to quantify the contributions made by employees to an organisation, Human resource managers carry out what is referred to as performance appraisal. Different scholars have defined performance appraisal differently.
Aswatappa, K(2007:226) defines performance appraisal as the assessment of an individual’s performance in a systematic way, the performance being measured against such factors as job knowledge, quality and quantity of output, initiative, leadership abilities, supervision, dependability, cooperation, judgement, versatility, health, and all the like. However, Dessler. G (2006:311) has defined performance appraisal as “evaluating an employee’s current and/ or past performance relative to his or her performance standards”.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss Garry Dressler’s definition of performance appraisal and show why this process is necessary in the management and utilisation of workforce. Garry Dessler’s definition of performance appraisal: Dessler’s definition of performance appraisal suggests that when conducting performance appraisal, supervisors should consider not only employees’ current performance but rather their past performance as well. The author argues that failure to do that may render the performance appraisal ineffective and thereby defeating the sole purpose of conducting it.
In other words, employees should continuously be evaluated perhaps on a daily basis for a supervisor to accurately come up with a valid assessment of their performance. Furthermore, when formulating his definition of performance appraisal, Dessler was mindful of the fact that it would be wrong to evaluate employees’ performance based on the current performance because of a number of reasons. Firstly, employees would try to impress their supervisors during that short period for which they are under evaluated.
Secondly, because human beings are not machines, and hence their performance is affected by the environment, so a supervisor would be highly subjective if he appraises employees based on their current performance. Therefore, it is no wonder, he defined performance appraisal as “evaluating an employee’s current and/ or past performance relative to his or her performance standards”. Reasons for conducting performance appraisal in the management and utilisation of employees.
Performance appraisals play a significant role in the management and utilisation of human resource in any organisation in many ways as outlined below. Determining training needs Many scholars have clearly noted that management can easily identify training needs in their employees through performance appraisals. This is the case because an appraisal will clearly show the deficiencies of skills in employees if they exist. Therefore, performance appraisal helps management identify employees that need to go for training and the kind of training that needs to be undertaken.
By carefully, identifying employees that require training and selecting a training program to rectify the inefficiencies in in employees, an organisation can save a lot of money. Some organisations that do not carry out performance appraisal have spent huge resources on employees who do not necessarily need training to be effective. Compensation, rewards and punishment: When faced with difficult decisions to make relating to compensation, rewarding and punishment, management of organisation can make use of results of the performance appraisals.
For instance, employees who receive favourable evaluation can be the basis of awarding them with organisation rewards or higher salary. On the other hand, those with unfavourable evaluation would receive organisational censure, warning, delayed promotion. If management is consistent with the application of the performance appraisal in this regard, it would not only make objective or unbiased decisions, but also win the trust and respect of the employees. The ultimate result is greater cooperation between management and their employee.
As a matter of fact, Beardwell, J and Claydon, T(2007:343) has argued that “the objective of linking pay and other personnel decisions to performance is to motivate employees to do better”. In line with the above, Chatterjee, B (2002: 218) has noted that “performance appraisal programmes aid decisions making for promotion and transfers of employees in an organisations”. Sustaining and enhancing employee performance. Performance appraisals are an aid to creating and maintaining a satisfactory level of performance by employees on their jobs.
Chatterjee, B (2002: 216) has argued that “the mere knowledge that their performance is being assessed and that such an assessment will have an important bearing on their future within the organisation is a powerful incentive for them to sustain and if possible better their present level of performance”. Therefore performance appraisals help management in motivating and maximising the potential of its employees. Validation of human resource programmes. In today’s dynamic business environment, managements of organisations always want to maximise their utilisation of its employees through the introduction of various human resource programmes.
However all these human resource programmes require to be measured to see the kind of impact they have on its employees. Beardwell, J and Claydon, T (2007:345) have suggested that “performance appraisals data are a useful tool for evaluating the effectiveness of human resource management programmes”. This can be done by conducting an appraisal before and after the intervention to measure the validity of assumption or anticipated change. Therefore, management can have the basis for dropping or continuing with any programmes that they launch for effectiveness in their employees by using performance appraisals.
Human resource planning For any organisation to effectively manage its human resources, it requires to formulate a human resource plan. A human resource plan essentially ensures that the right people will be employed in the right place, at the right time. In order to come up with good human resource plans, management rely on data generated from appraisals records. In this regard, human resource managers, can correctly anticipate employees that would be promoted, transferred, dismissed, that will need training and those require to be reassigned.
Furthermore, it is important for an organisation to come up a good human resource plan so that appropriate financial resources are allocated for all the programmes. By so doing, management would be effectively applying their management skill in running the organisation. Supervisory understanding Employee supervision is one of the most important duties of management. This is the case because lack of proper supervision of employees can lead to reduced productivity by the employees. Therefore, management use performance appraisal to help them supervise their employees.
As Chatterjee, B (2002:217) put it, “a formal and periodic appraisal encourages supervisors to observe the behaviour of their subordinates closely”. So when effectively implemented, the formal appraisal can facilitate mutual understanding between employees and their supervisors and create a wholesome, supportive, encouraging, atmosphere. Conclusion From the above discussion, we can conclude that performance appraisal help management effectively utilise its employees in many ways. One way, is by helping supervisors gain a better understanding of each employee’s abilities.
We have also discussed that the goal of the review process is to recognize achievement, evaluate job progress, and then to design training for the further development of skills and strengths. Furthermore we have noted that a careful review will stimulate employee’s interest and improve job performance. As if that is not enough, we argued that the performance appraisals provides the employee, the supervisor, and Human Resources a critical, formal feedback mechanism of employees and decisions are made that benefit both the organisation and concerned employees.
Finally, a performance appraisal is used as an instrument to reward employees fairly and thereby creating harmony among the employees. In other words, Performance appraisal ensures that management give more incentives to those employees identified as high performers. This generally motivates the entire workforce as employees would realise that management appreciates workers who work hard. ENDNOTES 1 K, Aswathappa, Human Resource and Personnel Management: ( Newyork, McGraw-Hill, sixth Edition, 2007), pg226 3. Gary D, Human Resource Management ( London: Pearson Education Ltd, Eleven Edition, 2007) pg 311 4.
Beardwell. J and Claydon. T` Human Resource Management, A contemporary approach, (London: Pearson Education Ltd, fifth Edition, 2007) pg 343 5 Chatterjee, B , Human Resource Management, A Contemporary Text (New Delhi: ING Publishers LTD, 2002), Pg 218. 6 Chatterjee, B , Human Resource Management, A Contemporary Text (New Delhi: ING Publishers LTD, 2002), Pg 216. 7. Beardwell. J and Claydon. T` Human Resource Management, A contemporary approach, ( London: Pearson Education Ltd, fifth Edition, 2007) pg 345 8 Chatterjee, B , Human Resource Management, A Contemporary Text (New Delhi: ING Publishers LTD, 2002), Pg 217
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