The performance management process starts with employee planning and ends with an evaluation of employee progress. Managers and employees should meet to discuss planning and goals throughout the year. If possible, formally sitting down with your supervisor or manager on a quarterly basis is optimal.
It is unreasonable for a prospective employee to understand all of the requirements and duties of a position before they are hired. The process to set goals and evaluate performance should be discussed during the hiring process. Once you have accepted a position, the initial few months of employment should focus on orientation, training and competence assessment. During orientation, development goals for the coming year should be mutually discussed and documented. Expectations for the coming year should also be clearly defined by your supervisor. It is not unreasonable to expect that on a regular basis, your progress should be reviewed. It is recommend that you take the initiative to ask how you are doing, if there are areas on which you should be concentrating on or that need improvement, or if there are additional content areas for you to learn.
The annual performance appraisal is usually done in two steps. First, you and your manager complete the performance appraisal form - you doing a self assessment. Often organizations also use a 60 degree feedback process, asking for input from your peers. Secondly, you and your manager participate in a formal performance appraisal interview. The appraisal form, used in the first step, consists of performance standards and criteria that are used to judge evaluate your performance. The items comprising your job description are usually the performance standards that are used in your annual appraisal. The performance standards are derived from a job analysis, which is a detailed list of all of the skills involved in performing a task. For example, what are the skills necessary to perform a complete blood count? The criteria are used to determine the level of performance, which can be excellent, average, or poor (or alternatively meets, exceeds or does not meet standards). Once your appraisal is complete, your score is averaged and your merit raise.
If the above process occurs, the formal, annual performance appraisal process should be more of a formality. There should be no surprises at this session. If ongoing performance review has occurred, this session can concentrate on a thorough review of your overall performance, but more importantly can concentrate on setting goals for the coming year. Those should include specific areas of improvement, project goals, and specific learnings that should take place as you move forward.
ESTABLISHING PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
The first step in the process of performance appraisal is the setting up of the standards which will be used to as the base to compare the actual performance of the employees. This step requires setting the criteria to judge the performance of the employees as successful or unsuccessful and the degrees of their contribution to the organizational goals and objectives. The standards set should be clear, easily understandable and in measurable terms. In case the performance of the employee cannot be measured, great care should be taken to describe the standards.
COMMUNICATING THE STANDARDS
Once set, it is the responsibility of the management to communicate the standards to all the employees of the organization.
The employees should be informed and the standards should be clearly explained to the. This will help them to understand their roles and to know what exactly is expected from them. The standards should also be communicated to the appraisers or the evaluators and if required, the standards can also be modified at this stage itself according to the relevant feedback from the employees or the evaluators.
MEASURING THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE
The most difficult part of the performance appraisal process is measuring the actual performance of the employees that is the work done by the employees during the specified period of time. It is a continuous process which involves monitoring the performance throughout the year. This stage requires the careful selection of the appropriate techniques of measurement, taking care that personal bias does not affect the outcome of the process and providing assistance rather than interfering in an employees work.
COMPARING THE ACTUAL WITH THE DESIRED PERFORMANCE
The actual performance is compared with the desired or the standard performance. The comparison tells the deviations in the performance of the employees from the standards set. The result can show the actual performance being more than the desired performance or, the actual performance being less than the desired performance depicting a negative deviation in the organizational performance. It includes recalling, evaluating and analysis of data related to the employees’ performance.
The result of the appraisal is communicated and discussed with the employees on one-to-one basis. The focus of this discussion is on communication and listening. The results, the problems and the possible solutions are discussed with the aim of problem solving and reaching consensus. The feedback should be given with a positive attitude as this can have an effect on the employees’ future performance. The purpose of the meeting should be to solve the problems faced and motivate the employees to perform better.
The last step of the process is to take decisions which can be taken either to improve the performance of the employees, take the required corrective actions, or the related HR decisions like rewards, promotions, demotions, transfers etc.