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Under official scrutiny

All organisations face the problem of directing the energies of their staff in order to achieve the organisational objectives. In doing so, organisations need to devise means to influence and channel the behaviours of their employees so as to optimise their contributions.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 14:40 IST

All organisations face the problem of directing the energies of their staff in order to achieve the organisational objectives. In doing so, organisations need to devise means to influence and channel the behaviours of their employees so as to optimise their contributions.

Performance appraisals constitute one of the major management tools employed in this process. This is based on the notion that an individual's performance in a job is improved by having definite goals, feedback about the performance and complemented by an appropriate reward system.

Most organisations, thus, now incorporate a formal appraisal system in their plan. Employees are given feedback regarding their performance, usually at least once a year so that action can be taken to rectify any weaknesses. This provides an opportunity for performance related discussions that may include setting goals and work objectives, identifying training and development needs and discussing career progression opportunities. In the process, the person doing the appraisal also gains new insight into the person being appraised, and vice versa.

There are however two main reasons why appraisals tend not to work. First the appraisal system is often badly designed and secondly, the underlying relationship between team leader and member is often quite poor. Organisations must realise that there is no perfect appraisal system. They need the system to ensure productive performances, and yet at the same time, whatever system implemented is fraught with pitfalls as it deals with the human factor.

However, a key element of the "perfect appraisal system" is its mutuality. Team members and their team leader must be allowed to take responsibility for making the overall relationship work and for the effectiveness of the appraisal system and the associated interview.

It is also important to make sure that the appraisal system is simple and readily adaptable for each work situation. Put all this in place and performance appraisal systems become an integral part of the work of a team - reflecting a growing consciousness of a need to manage the human resource level well in any business.

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 14:40 IST