A performance appraisal is an evaluation and review of an employee’s performance and productivity at work in relation to performance measures that had been agreed previously. Normally the appraisal process is supported by supervisor monitoring and support throughout a specified period and gaps in training or KPI’s may be filled informally. A formal performance appraisal is an opportunity for an employee to reflect on their performance and productivity and to describe to supervisors personal achievements and goals that have been met and to articulate how they wish to further develop within an organisation. The main reasons behind why organisations appraise employees are, firstly to support and encourage the high performance of staff, their career development and the advancement of the organisation’s strategic objectives, and second to review previously established employee objectives and outcomes.
For new employees, the performance appraisal process begins as soon as they start with a new employer. Normally a probationary period is set and during this time their performance is monitored and appraised to determine whether they will successfully complete their agreed probationary period. Performance appraisals are an important strategic tool that aligns the goals of the organization to that of the individual (Gruman, 2011). The benefits of a formal appraisal process include increased communication and clear guidelines for employees to achieve and progress their careers and for the organization to achieve their strategic goals such as increasing performance and productivity as well as providing feedback on important future needs.
Research has shown (Gurbur and Dikmenli, 2007) that one common concern raised by employees and managers is the possibility that performance appraisals may be misused as a control or punishment method. In organizations where such beliefs exist, it is often that the implementation and communication of the purpose and importance of the process is not communicated clearly. Furthermore, supervisors who lack the required skills and receive little or no training in conducting performance appraisals may be reluctant, avoid, or in some cases misuse the process, organisations need to aware of these issues.
Performance appraisals if used correctly and responsibly are important tools that organisations and employees can use to agree goals and objectives that are beneficial to both employees and to the organisation they work for. Organisations are in a position to evaluate the motivation and commitment of individuals in an organisation and to identify future talent. Employees can demonstrate to supervisors and managers how they have and will continue to contribute to the success of the organisation and why they should be considered for future development activities or promotion within the organisation.
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