In the given example, the company’s current evaluation form is inadequate and does not provide a complete picture of employee’s performance. The current evaluation method only focuses on personal characteristics of the employee being evaluated. Another problem with the current method is that only the plant manager evaluates the employee, without getting input from the individual being evaluated or anyone else. Furthermore the evaluation method currently being used focuses on perceptions and does not evaluate performance materials that can be easily measured, therefore creating a subjective evaluation.
A performance evaluation should focus on three generally accepted sets of criteria. Individual Tasks Outcomes, which measure the quantity and quality of the employees work. For this criterion, in the given example, the engineer would be rated on how successful the changes he implemented were, and how well his actual projects finished. In addition to task outcomes, employee behavior should be a separate category that an employee is evaluated in.
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In the example, the engineer would be rated on his attention to detail, submission of paperwork, suggestions for improvement, and how much of a team player he is.
Lastly an employee should be rated on his traits, which includes his personal attitude, display of confidence, dependability and knowledge. By evaluating the engineer on things such as friendliness, neatness of workspace and attitude the company is focusing too much on the employees’ traits which should be the least important of the three criteria an employee is evaluated on. Instead the company should primarily focus on the individual task outcomes as this affects the productivity and net profits of the company.
Employee behavior is also an important area to evaluate since behaviors can either encourage or hinder other employees work performance. Although it is important to recognize and evaluate personal traits, this should be the least weighted category as individual traits are the least likely to affect actual work performance. A 360 degree approach to performance evaluations involves supervisors, peers, subordinates and sometime clients in the evaluation process. By including all of these different individuals an employer can get a complete picture of an employees work performance.
A supervisor typically knows and understands the job responsibilities and expectations of the employee and can rate him based upon the actual performance. Peers work directly with one another and may share some of the same responsibilities and tasks. A peer is able to evaluate an employee on day to day duties, how well one works with others, and general performance. Subordinates can provide feedback on a variety of topics such as communication skills, support, knowledge of duties, and other behaviors and traits. Some disadvantages do occur when involving supervisors, peers and subordinates.
With so many people involved it may be difficult to find the correct individuals to perform responsible evaluations, which causes more time to be spent in the selection and training process. Another downfall is that each individual has a different relationship with the person being evaluated; therefore leading to differences in opinions that must be filtered through before a final rating is achieved. There are many different methods to analyze performance data once it has been collected. The most common methods include written essays, critical incidents and graphic rating scales.
A written essay is the most basic form of analyzing data, once the data is gathered from all sources the evaluator highlights the most important details of the data including positive and negative aspects of the employee’s performance as well as suggestions for improvements. This success of this method is highly dependent on the evaluators writing skills. It does provide for a less formal and possibly less threating way to provide feedback to an employee than the critical incident method, in which the evaluator focuses on behaviors that distinguish between effective and ineffective work performance.
By using critical incidents evaluators focus on specific actions and behaviors that effect job responsibilities and performance. The critical incident method provides more specific job related performance evaluation than a written essay but still does not give a complete picture of the employee’ performance. A graphic rating scale is one of the more popular methods of evaluation because is rates employees in various aspects of job performance. A scale can be developed to rate different criteria such as individual task outcomes, employee behaviors and traits.
This method allows for employers to quantify an employees’ performance and base results on objective details. Although the graphic rating scale does provide a complete picture of an employees’ performance it does provide for as much detailed feedback as a written essay or even critical incidents. Some employers are moving to another method of providing feedback called behaviorally anchored rating scales, which combines the general rating scale and critical incident methods, therefore allowing employers to focus on specific behaviors and provide feedback on job-related performance.
There are many different reasons that factual evaluations are difficult to obtain. Evaluators may overrate an employee in an attempt to please the employee, out of fear of retaliation or just because they like the person, such inflation is considered positive leniency. The opposite, negative leniency, occurs when evaluators underrate an employee to punish the employee for a personal difference, to make the employee look bad in order to make themselves appear better, or because they just don’t like the person. The Halo error occurs when an evaluator basis their assessment on one specific action or characteristic.
To help obtain more accurate evaluations, a company can employ the following protections against these biases and errors. First, use multiple evaluators so that more accurate information can be obtained. Be selective in the evaluators chosen, ensure they have knowledge of the employees’ performance and work responsibilities. Finally, train the evaluators, so that they understand what is expected and how to avoid using personal judgments in their ratings. In order for the given company to improve their performance evaluations, the company should consider using a 360 degree performance review.
In doing so supervisors, peers, and subordinates should all be chosen to participate in the review of a given employee. All evaluators should be trained on how to properly evaluate an employee, and be made aware of any biases that may influence their evaluations. Strict criteria should be used in the selection process of evaluators to ensure that evaluators have proper knowledge of the employee and his responsibilities, as well as to ensure that all evaluation criteria are observed. By using this approach the company can objectively evaluate employees and improve employee morale, productivity and performance.