Merits and shortcomings of performance appraisalsIntroductionPerformance appraisal is a method of evaluating the performance of employees in terms of quality of work, cost and time spent. Performance appraisal reviews employees’ performances regularly, with the aim of giving performance feedback to employees, identify training need, and are able to allocate organizational rewards. (Moen, 1989). Performance appraisal forms a basis for making personnel decisions such as salary increase, promotions and taking disciplinary action.

It creates room for communication between employee and administrators for them to offer equal employment opportunities. In order to assess performance, numerical or scalar rating system is used where managers score individuals on a number of attributes. Also assessment can be from manager, subordinates, customers and peers. (Moen, 1989). After selection of employees, the next important tool of management should be performance appraisal. If it is carried out properly, it is useful to fine-tune and reward employees. The strength of performance appraisal is that, it helps appraiser to be reasonable in improving performance of employees and ensure that the strength and weaknesses of employees are noticed and are taken care of immediately.

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 In order to ensure effective appraisal of performance, confidential report should be collected which provide the basis for assessing performance and vital inputs are included in making decision. Assessment form should be filled with great sense of responsibility by the reporting and reviewing authority. Confidential reports are used because the objective of assessment is to develop a potential employee and its purposes is not a fault finding process but a developmental process. (Dion, 1986).

 MERITS OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISALThe appraiser gives report that truly reflects performance of employee without favor or discrimination. Evaluator is given latitude to cover items that are not in the set used for predetermined evaluation. Attention is given to the specific examples that are cited and have demonstrated performance for it to be an accurate narrative. The report given about one employee challenges the others and they get to understand that their effort will never go unnoticed and will always be rewarded fairly.

 An individual improves performance due to information provided about him. This is because; he sees that somebody recognizes the extra effort that he puts in his work. He will make sure that he shines all the time and get to know that he needs to move forward and improve his performance because even other employee can worker harder and out do him. (Nikas, 1984). Performance appraisal makes employees be involved in setting objective of performance and makes employees be motivated in order to achieve their goals.

Employees know that they will be rewarded only if they work hard and because they know what they expect from the organization for the efforts made, they will not waste any time that they are supposed to be on duty. Factual basis to the objective for measuring accomplishment are offered and all the employees are aware of them. The employees will work having in mind the objectives and this will improve on the way they perceive work and also they will set a target to achieve. Once they have accomplished their task, they will always expect to be acknowledged rewarded which is encouraging to them. Performance appraisal gives emphasis to result not personality characteristics or traits. It is centered on job entirely. This means that even if a person has the recommended personality and does not perform to the expectations, he will not gain anything because; he is supposed to apply his knowledge and expertise to bring good results of his work to the organization.

 The appraiser is established as the facilitator of the performance rather than as critic of performance. He should always encourage employees to perform better all the time. Even if an employee is weak in a given area, he should help him solve the problem and offer training to poor performers for them to improve in their work. Any criticism is avoided and all the employees feel that they belong to the organization. The appraisal assures the organization that the working of all employees is towards a common purpose. This will ensure that employee will work for the betterment of the organization as a whole. The success of employee will be the success of the organization and the organization will shine and attract more and more customers and improve in quality of product and service when all employees strive to achieve a common goal. (Gomez, 1988).

 Performance appraisal gives support to psychological concept that self control and self direction is exercised in order to accomplish the aims that have been set. The aims can only be met if employees know and exercise good virtues where they manage their time well and work with minimum supervision. Employee with self control will be patient and persevere even if the work environment is not favorable and are able to contain challenges that they face as they try to accomplish their assignments. Performance information which is complete is provided and on multiple perspectives for the whole organization. The efforts made by individual employees is recognized and noted down so that it can be rewarded at the right time. Communication between employees and internal and external customers is made formal and they can be able to communicate freely and air their views. Performance appraisal improves behavior change due to complete provision of information about performance.

When a high performing employee is rewarded in the present of low performing employees, the low performers will be challenged and will put more effort in their work than before and this will benefit the organization after the employees have benefited on individual basis. (Cameron, 1995). The company is able to perform effectively in financial terms and outcome competitors in similar business.

When performance appraisal is applied in one of the firm and not others in the same industry, there will be a big difference in terms of revenue generated because appraisal results to hard working employees and increased output by employees individually and if the entire output of all employees is combined and their value in terms of money is calculated, the finance will be in huge amount. (Moem, 1989). The knowledge of employees’ capability is developed and used effectively. Monitoring the performance of individual employees is very important because, the strength of employee is noted and the area where he is most talented is known. This will help the supervisor to assign employees in their area of specialization and where they can be most productive.

 Performance appraisal benefit both employees and management, individual feedback is provided and organization data that is collated and useful in human resource for planning and evaluation purposes, human resource development program, schemes of remuneration, creates opportunity for remedial skill development, upskilling program and training. (Bowman, 1994). SHORTCOMINGS OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISALShortcomings arise from the way the methods are used. Appraisers are not trained on evaluating employee performance and do not assess accomplishment of subordinates effectively.

This result in employee effort, not being recognized, or rewarded. This discourages employees and they are not able to spend their time and effort to improve on their performance. Performance appraisers find the task difficult, unpleasant, and unnecessary and do not discuss it with employees. No much thought is given to form on performance once it is completed; it is handled as not important and irrelevant. Employee need to be told the importance of performance appraisal so that they can know why the organization has decided to use it. Performance appraisal is time consuming. It requires a lot of time to be able to monitor employees as they work all the time.

Getting the details on how the employees are working and outcome of the work done take time. If the appraiser does not dedicate his time to the appraisal system it can never be effective. The time consumed could have been used to do other duties in the organization and profit the organization. (Chye, 1996).

 There lacks objectivity where the rating scales use personality traits or characteristics such as attitude, appearance and personal conduct that are difficult to measure and have subjective interpretation. Lack of objective criteria makes evaluator and employer to be in a position that is untenable if appraisal of the system of performance is challenged by employees. Central tendency makes employees be rated as average or at middle level of numerous scales. This problem is as a result of many employees being evaluated at the same time. Rating scales have performance on day to day basis because appraiser remembers extremes and evaluation depends on writing ability of evaluator. (Wolfgang, 1998).

 The validity and reliability measures of performance are threatened. For example, the attitude of supervisors against or towards employee can affect evaluation. Supervisor might look at an employee and think that the employee is weak and can not be able to work well. Therefore even if he is the best in work, he can never be recognized and rewarded. Another employee may be rewarded all the times even if he has not performed well. This means the performance appraisal can never be reliable and valid means of judging employees. Error committed recently can affect evaluation and make judgment on personal qualities. For example an employee who has been performing well can be caught stealing from the organization or outside.

This portrays a very negative attitude about him to the appraiser and the employee positive contribution to the organization can never be credited. This means that the reward will not be given to the best performer just because he has committed an error and this discourages him from working hard. (Schlei, 1983).

 The expert employed to do performance appraisal requires to be paid high amount of salary. This demands that the organization keep large quantity of money aside for hiring an expert. If the organization is not doing well financially, it may lack enough money to settle the debts owed to the appraiser or even end up paying out high costs than the revenue generate from the appraisal system. The primacy effect where first impression of subordinate is formed by supervisors’ fairy quickly can make wrong judgment.

The supervisor can look at the employee physically and make judgment about their performance. This is wrong because, any judgment made should be based on the actual work that is already done but not on the impression that the supervisor get on the employee. (Latham, 1983). The one being appraised belief that, their failure is the responsibility of supervisor.

They fail to understand that they are the ones responsible for the failure. This is because, if they only put effort in their work and bring out good results, the supervisor would be willing and in a position to reward them for being successful in their work and working hard all the time. This will bring about hatred in the organization because of misunderstanding between the appraiser and he appraised. The perception that the supervisor should dictate goals and not give insight on how to achieve them has affected performance in many organizations.

Where as the supervisor should set the organizational goals, advice and direct employees on how to achieve them, many supervisor leave the work of achieving the goals to employees without advising them on ways and means of accomplishing the goals. There is no feedback given to employees by superiors on how employees are progressing towards the goal. (Carroll, 1982). Performance appraisal encourages short term performance. This is because employees will be interested at what the employer can offer after they complete a certain task.

They do not put into consideration of the outcome of their efforts at work in future. Once they are rewarded for their work in the short run and get their benefits and thereafter begin to work so that they can be recognized for their performance later and be rewarded. Performance appraisal discourages risk taking. In order for the organization to get high returns from its activities, it has to be a high risk taker and the opposite is the same because low risk takers get low returns from investment. Employees will not undertake high risk because, if the return happen not to be high or they fail in the activity that they are risking and run at loss instead of gaining, they will not be rewarded at all.

This will make employee develop a negative attitude towards risk and belief it is disadvantageous to risk at any given time. (Dion, 1986). Performance appraisal build fears and makes team work to be undermined. When an organization reward employees on individual performance, all the employees will tend to work as individuals and even try to compete with each other on who will be more recognized as they do their duties. Most of the work requires team work for it to accomplish effectively. For this reason performance appraisal will result to low performance because no employee will be interested in becoming a team player or even offer any assistance to his work colleagues. (Kubo, 1990).

 Employees are rewarded on the quality of work that they produce but not on quantity of the output. This will make employees spend most of their time emphasizing on the quality of work resulting low quantity of output which is of high quality. This is a loss to the company because, the market demand of customers will not be met, there will be low sales made which will end up in companies making low profits or sometimes losses. The employees should be rewarded on quality and quantity of output for the performance appraisal to be beneficial to both the employees and the organization as a whole. (Bonamou, 1977). Performance appraisal nourishes rivalry and politics.

The employees in the organizations will be rivals of each other because; the rewarding system is not the same for all employees. Every time very employee will be working hard in order to emerge the best performer compared to the others. There will be politics because, if the organization favors one employee the others will start complaining and others will also campaigning so that they can be chosen and rewarded as best in the whole organization. Conclusion,When performance appraisal is already established, it provides ideas used for refining the practices that are already established or creates room for new ones. For example, if a supervisor has been having interpersonal conflicts, more attention is paid in interpersonal skills when new supervisors are selected, advice present supervisor to attend classes for conflict management or even counsel the supervisor. The data gathered can be used for long-term staffing plan and development of workers and also to institute discipline. (Nikas, 1984).                       REFERENCESNikas R.

(1984): the art of performance; a critical anthology: New York. Bonamou M. (1977): performance in postmodern culture: Wisconsin. Kubo H. (1990): improving employee communication. Washington state university. Dion K.

(1986): journal of performance appraisal and review system. The free press. Carroll S (1982): performance appraisal: foresman and company. Lathan G. (1983): a motivational technique that works in contemporary problems in personnel. John willey and sons, pp 313-324. Schlei B. (1983): employment discrimination law.

Bureau of national affairs, pp531. Cameron M. (1995): rewarding for performance, a journal for compensation and benefit. Gomez M. (1988): evaluating employee performance: public personnel administration. Moen R.

(1989): the performance appraisal system: quality progress, 22 November. Bowman J. (1994): alternative to performance appraisal: public administration review. Wolfgang J. (1998): standards and appraisals of performance: Lippincott- Raven publishers. Chye T. (1996): problems with performance appraisal: Singapore, pp107-113.