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Appraisals and Their Impact in HR and Training

Appraisals and Their Impact in HR and Training

Author: James Howard

Determine key aspects of the appraisal processes in business.

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Hello and welcome to this tutorial on appraisals and the impact on HR and training. Now as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time you're going to spend here.

So let me ask you a question. How is it as employees, or just as humans, do we know that we're getting better, or if we're getting worse, and how do we take steps to correct that?

Well, during this lesson, what we're going to be talking about are performance appraisals. We're also going to be discussing appraisal errors. Those errors that go into the appraisal system that we have to watch out for. And the employee's role in that appraisal. Also, lastly we're going to be talking about training.

Now, the key term for this lesson is going to be performance appraisal. So let's start off with performance appraisals. Now performers appraisals are often done by HR managers. They're typically the ones who are responsible for making sure these performance appraisals get done. And typically they're done for the people who report to that HR manager.

Now performance appraisals are often based on goals. And these include personal goals of the person being evaluated. And also the goals of the company involved.

Performance appraisals often directly tie to things like raises and promotions. They also may leave though to firings and demotions depending on the results of that appraisal and how well we're doing based on those goals, both personal and those set by the company for the company.

Now HR will often work with other managers who have to do these for their direct reports in order to make sure that they're fair and they're meeting those goals that are set by the company.

Performance appraisals will carry both objective and judgmental criterion. Now objective measures are going to be concrete, such as the number of sales, or how many units did I assemble? Or how many people did I recruit during a specified time period.

Judgmental measures are going to be a little more subjective. Often times we try to put these together in some type of numeric scale so that we can rate them. Now these will be things like communication skills. How good are you at communicating with the other people on your team?

And we'll set these to a number by using something called a Likert scale or something similar. Now a Likert scale, if you've ever rated a particular product on a numeric basis, say 1 to 10, that's an example of a Likert scale. I'm assigning a numeric value to how well I think this particular item does. Or in this case, how well that employee is at communicating.

So we put that all together and we look at the definition of our key term here-- performance appraisal. A performance appraisal is a review in which the employee's job performance is formally evaluated-- not informally. We're not coaching people as we go along, although that's a type of appraisal or evaluation.

Now with performance appraisals we have to be careful of certain appraisal errors. Now, the recency effect is where the evaluator is going to look at things that happened recently. The successes, for instance, may skew an appraisal to the positive, or poor performance over the last couple of weeks may skew it negative. And what we tend to do, if we're not careful with the recency effect, is look at those things that only happened recently, and focus more on those, instead of things that happened all throughout the performance period.

We also have to be careful of bias and discrimination. This is where personal preferences may come into play, or things that I like about a person or dislike about a person, or a group of people, may drive my opinion of the appraisal.

Also we have to look at unequal emphasis. Now unequal emphasis-- this error is where we have excessive weight given to one particular area of the appraisal.

Now the employee's role is to make sure that they self-evaluate. And make sure your self-evaluating throughout the performance period. If I'm getting rated once a year, I need to self-evaluate myself several times during the year, based on those goals that I've been given for that particular performance period.

Also the manager may need to observe the employee in order to see if they're hitting those targets. And so this is a great opportunity for the manager and the employee to work together in an informal way in order to make sure we're hitting those goals we set for our appraisal.

Now the pros for employee participation in the appraisal system is that we get constructive feedback, not just doing the formal appraisal, but also throughout the year. And there's also a recognition of work that's done. Or in some cases, not done.

They get to express their thoughts and their feelings about their role in the system. And it also creates an opportunity for future development for the employee, because I can identify those things that I need to work on, or those things that I'm doing really well at, but I can do a little better.

The cons, however, for an employee roll-- well, it takes time, and we don't always have all the time we need when we're on a deadline or trying to meet certain goals for the company. Also it requires organization. It requires you to get in and plan how you're going to self-evaluate.

There's stress related to being evaluated. Every time you've ever taken a test, there's stress there. Am I going to do well? Am I going to know all the questions? It's the same thing when you're getting evaluated, even for non-formally. There's a little bit of stress involved that we're going to have to deal with.

And often we make the mistake of not being objective to numeric evaluation. We tend to think, well I think I do better, I think I've done worse. And we really have to try to take that subjectivity out of it, and our biases for ourselves, because we all we're great, and make sure we're looking at it in an objective way to make sure we get the most out of that formal or informal appraisal.

Now one of the ways that we get employees better as a result of performance appraisals is through training. And training is typically driven by the results of those performance appraisals. Have we done well? Have we done poorly? Or what are those things, even if we've done well, that we can still do better at? And what happens is the company can then provide training to make that employee more valuable, and ultimately more successful.

We have to make sure that when we do the training it's done through this particular lens-- understanding the needs of the organization as revealed through the appraisals. The way these training programs are designed and driven, ultimately, is through an understanding of the company's needs, based on what we've gotten through the performance appraisals.

An employee could be really, really great person, but if they're not meeting those company needs or company goals, then we have a disconnect and a problem. So this is a great opportunity to build and design a training program around that shortfall or gap in training so that we can bring that employee along and get them to where we need them to be to make the most for the company, and also to get the most benefit for that particular employee.

Now training can be on all the different levels. And we have a couple of different types of training. One, we have on-the-job training. Now this includes any particular training that's done on site.

On site activities, such as in the classroom. Or having someone take you aside and show you how to use the forklift, for instance. Or how to wrap a package properly. Or how to properly develop a spreadsheet and a graph that meets the company's expectations of how good or high quality that should be. How to place a particular logo on a letterhead, for instance. These are all examples of things that happen on the job.

Off the job training, on the other hand, is any off site activity. Things that take place outside of the work environment. And this could be the company sending an employee to a conference to take or look at particular seminars or classes on an area that relates to their job. It can be paying for a college class to help them understand a certain aspect of the job better. For instance, math, or how to use an office suite product like Word or Excel, or PowerPoint.

Now training techniques that are used during training include things like simulations. I also have role playing, instructional sessions, such as lectures and sitting in a classroom. Conferences where I send people off to a bunch of experts in the field to talk about the latest trends that are developing. Presentation, such as getting everybody together and showing them how to do a new particular process that we're doing, or how to use a new particular piece of gear. Also, discussions is a good form of training-- getting people together who have knowledge of this particular area and discussing the things that they see on a daily basis to see how we can improve our role. And that's training.

Now what did we learn today? Well we looked at performance appraisals and that importance of a performance appraisal, not only for the employee, but also for the company. How are we doing as it relates to the company goal.

We looked at appraisal errors, those things that may bias or skew the results of an appraisal that we as managers have to watch out for so that we're being as objective as possible. We look at the employee role in appraisals, some of the pros for that and also some of the cons.

And lastly we looked at training, and those different types of training, but specifically we looked at on and off the job training. Those activities that take place at the work site, and those activities that take place away from the work site.

Well as always, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today. I had a great time and I hope you did too. I'll see you guys next time.

Terms to Know
Performance Appraisal

A review in which an employee's job performance is formally evaluated.