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The Performance Appraisal Chore

It is that time of the year that neither the appraiser nor the to-be appraised is particularly looking forward to; yes, the annual appraisal looms. In some companies, it is a lengthy process and at others, a breeze.

Appraisal tools and techniques are also one of the 50 Topics Every HR Professional Should Know.

Thousands of books have been written and complex processes designed to generate the perfect appraisal system however old HR hands would agree with me that expecting the same is foolish considering the inherent subjectivity and contrasting expectations of the people on opposite sides of the appraisal fence.

No wonder that some companies have entirely done away with it replaced by regular evaluation or ‘only the results matter’ policies.

If executed well, though appraisals can lead to performance improvement, motivate employees, act as a basis for future employment decisions, serve as a feedback mechanism, help in formulating job criteria, training needs, and overall career development. However, appraisals still have negative perceptions in the minds of some employees, or error-ridden exercises and quite often may not align company goals with the individual’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Improving the Appraisal Process

Some years back, I had taken a stab at trying to apply some logic palatable to both sides of the appraisal fence, the employee, and his or her manager but had forgotten all about it. Recently, while researching for some data on how teams are selected. (See blog post opTEAMize – The Ideyeah Behind It), I found my old notes tucked away in a corner of my external HDD. So, I decided to reproduce them for the benefit of folks interested and still in search of a transparent appraisal system.

This is a credit or point based system which can easily be deployed for small and medium-sized companies. It assigns points to 11 factors including Education, Training and Certification, Experience, Role relevant skills, Soft skills, Potential, and Objectives.

The Opteamize Appraisal Points System

icon-arrow Educational Qualifications = 15 points
Consider existing and any new qualifications obtained.
icon-arrow Training and Certifications = 15 points
Credit is given for any certifications earned previously or after joining the company.
icon-arrow Experience = 30 points
Assign points for years of seniority and loyalty as they have their own value in any company.
icon-arrow Skill Development = 60 points
Use a simple skill matrix that tracks the employee’s skill set.
icon-arrow Soft Skills = 36 points
Credit is given for effective team building, mentoring, delegation and training.
icon-arrow Executive Skills = 24 points
Use template 2 or similar to rate employees on 12 required skills.
icon-arrow Potential = 20 points
Award points for potential, fast-track employees and for any memberships.
icon-arrow Objectives Met = 100 points
Set up measurable KPIs as part of the annual goal setting.
Total Points = 300

If the above criteria are transparent to the employees and areas for developing, maintaining, and enhancing skills (both technical and executive) are clearly communicated, the last area of contention then can only be the KPIs. The examples for executive skills given in the scoring template are generic and can be changed based on specific skills that the particular industry or company is looking for.

Make Appraisals Less of a Chore

I also recommend that you make use of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal-setting system for employees. By mutually agreeing upon the objectives, continually tracking them and judging results fairly at the end of the year, you can create a win-win for both company and employee.

In conclusion, the proposed appraisal system aims to drastically reduce the subjectivity factor which is a big sore point amongst those typically affected by the ‘curse of averages’ that afflicts much of the scoring of existing appraisal systems. Contact Opteamize if you require more information.

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