By Ogunjobi Patrick Olanrewaju

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Unarguably, human resources is the most important instrument at the disposal of a forward looking manager. Wrong management and bad utilization of this imperative resource may spell doom for an organization. There is abundance of human resources, with high quality in Nigeria. The problem, however is how well this is harnessed and utilized by the people saddled with such responsibility(s).

…Performance Appraisal

This term has many connotations making its definition evasive. We can say that;

  1. a.It is the promotion of feedback for employee
  2. b.Performance evaluation
  3. c.Employee appraisal or work evaluation. In the strict sense, these concepts can be used interchangeably.

Performance appraisal is a system of evaluating employees past and present behaviour or act based on a systematic and standardized form for future use of the employee and the employer. This can be in form of promotion, wages adjustment, lay-off, training needs and goal attainment.

However, performance appraisal as it will be used, is the one involving the assessment of an employee in relation to his/her work i.e. both the employee and employer.

…Purpose of Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal is the most important single device available to an organization for setting and obtaining goals which involves parties at all levels within the organization. For example, statements regarding optimal growth in the market value of the firm’s work. Units in the organization will have to translate this to affects them in other to meet this global view e.g production, sales, marketing, etc.

The process involved has four component cycles:

  1. 1.Establishing standards
  2. 2.Recording actual performance
  3. 3.Reviewing performance in the light of standards and ,
  4. 4.Determining corrective solutions.

These four processes taken together, constitute a control function because it serves as an auditing facilitating control by deciding on whom to hire or select for what job and with what.

In the development of employees, the performance appraisal is used as a means of identifying areas of skills and knowledge in which numerous employees are not up to par, thus permitting general training deficiency which should be corrected by additional training.

In addition, the employees’ motivation can be constantly kept high in that if the employee is aware that management is interested in him as well as in his work, he will strive harder to meet up with expectations. Lastly, the performance appraisal is used for personnel research in that problems of selection and turnover continually call for study of the personal qualities of man as determinants of their success in the job.

Perhaps the most readily used approach to rating performance is the tradition (or subjective) approach. The rating is more or less an opinion or judgement of the superior officer on how he perceives the subordinates on how he/she carried out the responsibilities assigned to the individual so far. These factors are all together called human errors in judgement. The units and the individuals must look for an efficient way of interpreting how the overall goals affects and the contribution of its own quota.

…Environmental Influences on Performance Appraisal

Environmental influences on performance appraisal can evolve from many sources such as lack of working tools with which to achieve the set individual and developmental goals, non-availability of raw materials, socio-economic situation of the environment and even the work environment layout.

…Conditions for Effective Performance Evaluation

Certain conditions are necessary for performance evaluation to be effective and these are highlighted below:

  1. a.There must be high levels of subordinate participation in the appraisal and development process
  2. b.There must be a helpful and constructive attitude towards the subordinate by the supervisor.
  3. c.There should be an opportunity to jointly proffer problem solving method whereby both parties must be willing to take criticisms in good faith.
  4. d.Issues concerning salaries and wages must not be discussed.
  5. e.Managers require good skills in conducting appraisal interviews, therefore personality structures may have to be underplayed.
  6. f.Where a job improvement is required, the ability of the employee, and potentials need be taken into consideration.

…Appraisal Programme Implementation

How do we institute a good and dependable appraisal programme? The first step is to decide who should the appraising. There is need for special training of individuals who are to undertake this task in order to remove some of the judgmental errors earlier stated.

Secondly, it is very important to determine what factors should go into performance appraisal programme as this will vary from department to department.

Thirdly, practicality of the appraisal program should be emphasized. There should be a generally acceptable margin set and agreed upon by both management and employee.

Lastly, the performance appraisal programme should be acceptable to both the management and the representative(s) of the employee. It is advisable that both management and the employees sit together and determine what goes into the appraisal programme taking into consideration the individual objectives and that of the unit vis-à-vis the organizational overall goal.

Whatever the approach, a good and dependable performance appraisal programme must be valid, i.e. it must measure what it set out to measure in the first place.

…Appraisal Feedback

The most difficult aspect in implementing appraisal programme is perhaps that of giving a feedback to the employee concerned on the appraisal done by the superior or rating officer, this is probably due in part to

  1. a.Normal dislike of criticizing a subordinate and perhaps argue about it
  2. b.Lack of skill needed to handle the feedback, and
  3. c.Mistrust in the objectivity of the appraisal instrument.

However, most organizations conduct what is referred to variously as performance appraisal interview and feedback interviews.

The performance appraisal interview is a kind of session between the manager and the subordinate. The interview should be an occasion whereby the superior expresses his feelings or view by being helpful and supportive. The individual becomes more trusting and willing to give necessary information, by so doing.





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