A performance appraisal is an assessment of a worker's performance over a given period of time. Also commonly referred to as a performance evaluation, the exact value of the appraisal has been widely debated. Performance appraisals that are administered correctly have many strengths, while those that are conducted incorrectly can sometimes do more damage than good. A disadvantage of the properly conducted employee review is that it can take a great deal of time. However the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses.
People have appraised and judged the work of others for as long as human beings have provided work for one another. However, the formal performance appraisal is a relatively new development in the world of work. Early performance appraisals, which first gained common use during World War II, were used mainly to determine whether a worker was properly compensated for the work done. However, managers have learnt more recently that performance appraisals can also be used as effective tools for employee development.
The strengths and weaknesses of a particular performance appraisal process are determined by the expected outcomes. Performance appraisals used only to determine compensation commonly fail to achieve the desired outcomes. However, performance appraisals used as one small portion of a full merit pay program may improve employee performance rather than simply measuring it.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While the performance appraisal process can be stressful for both supervisors and employees, it can provide a necessary platform for discussing ideas and issues as well as clarifying management expectations. When properly conducted, the performance appraisal process can be used to encourage employee growth and development, which has a positive impact on job satisfaction and productivity. However, when managers allow their personal biases to affect their judgment, the performance appraisal can be a negative experience for both.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the performance appraisal is that it can significantly improve performance levels when appropriately conducted. In order for the performance appraisal to be utilised to its utmost advantage, it must be viewed as a tool of an overall performance management program. Rather than simply measuring current performance levels, it is essential for managers and employees to work together to identify opportunities for growth.