Performance Appraisal and Job Assessment

Performance appraisal as a common human resource management tool is “an evaluative process involving the assessment of employee performance in light of predetermined standards” (Smither as cited in Mitchell, 2010, p. 82).  To ensure continuous success of the employee on the new job, a performance appraisal should be conducted to provide the worker and the organization with “the systematic review and evaluation of job performance, as well as the provision of performance feedback” (Levy, 2010, p. 105).

The management, human resources (HR), and I/O psychologists should work together to design the performance evaluation aiming to encourage employees to grow professionally and to reach full potential in their work.  They also should develop an appropriate rating format for performance appraisal measurements.  Graphic rating scale is proven to be a reliable and convenient format thus it can be used in the evaluation of performance. In this format, raters assess how much of each particular trait or behavior the worker possesses or where on this dimension the worker falls with respect to organizational expectations (Levy, 2010).  Because these positions may include new tasks for facilitating the company’s fast growth, and these tasks have not be evaluated previously, raters of performance appraisals should be trained to get familiar with the new job functions and subject matter knowledge.  To minimize errors and improve accuracy, raters may be trained to enhance their appraisal skills.  Two common training options are Rater Error Training (RET) and Frame of Reference (FOR) Training.

The integrity of a performance appraisal system depends on both managers’ and employees’ understanding on its objective therefore it is important for managers to review the appraisal results with employees.  Using actual job performance as a basis for review, managers and employees can discuss developmental needs, career goals, and organizational objectives with a mutual interest.  When managers and employees work together, they can use the performance appraisal to develop an action plan for each worker to enhance competency and advance career.

Unlike performance appraisal, job assessment is focused on the job functions rather than the workers who perform the jobs.  While performance appraisal is a on-going, repetitive process, job assessment is mainly conducted for new jobs.  The management team needs to conduct a job assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the new job in helping the company address business growth and expansion.  This assessment is very critical because the company needs to ensure its growth is properly facilitated and the return on investment (ROI) well managed.  This assessment should be conducted sooner in order to identify issues and make adjustments as early as possible.  However, the appropriate time of assessment may depend on the operational lifecycle thus it may be necessary to allow enough time for the new job to produce stable results.  In general, four to six months after the start of the job should be sufficient.

The criteria of the assessment should quantitatively measure contributions of the new job to the company’s bottom line, which may include better financial data, improved business workflow, eased work conditions, and increased employee and customer satisfaction.   With data collected from accounting, finance, and sales department, the assessment may determine how much the new position has helped meet the demand of rapid growth.  A survey on employees in the related work areas can reveal the impact of the new job to daily operations.  Field data in production may be collected to analyze the new job’s significance in improving productivity and customer service.

References

Levy, P. E. (2010). Industrial/organizational psychology: Understanding the workplace (3rd ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

Mitchell, L. D. (2010). Emotional responses to performance appraisal feedback: Implications for organizations. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, (11)4, 82-108.