Many organisations strive for accreditations such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People (IIP) to demonstrate to suppliers and customers that the organisation has strong leadership, customer focus and good business practices. The main principles of these accreditations include continuous performance improvement through staff development and training and involving staff in everyday business to encourage motivation, commitment and accountability. For most organisations this is accomplished through an annual appraisal programme.
My employers have both ISO 9001 and IIP accreditations and the appraisal process has proven to be an effective way to measure performance, increase productivity, promote staff well-being and demonstrate our commitment to continual improvement.
The purpose of this report is to discuss how appraisals benefit an organisation.
How do appraisals benefit an organisation and its employees?
From an organisation’s point of view, appraisals are essential for the effective management and evaluation of its employees. The appraisal process helps to develop an individual’s performance, monitor standards, enable delegation of tasks and responsibilities, establish individual training needs and promote a positive working environment. Generally, appraisals feed into an organisation’s annual pay review and business planning priorities for the following financial year. This means that any changes to job requirements or new key performance indicators needed to realise operational or efficiency goals can be communicated and introduced as part of an employee’s appraisal (Businessballs n.d.).
From an employee’s point of view, appraisals are essential for understanding their employer’s organisational expectations, career planning, job motivation, identifying strengths and weaknesses and achieving their full potential (Thurrock Council 2009).
The appraisal process
The appraisal process normally follows a cycle of objective setting and reviews to ensure that goals are being met and improvements are being realised (see example at Appendix 1 (Thurrock Council 2009)). Appraisals are also formally recorded on a 1-2-1 performance and development review templates (see example at Appendix 2).
To be effective appraisals should address the “whole person”, not just the job requirements, but personal aims and desires as well. This means that managers can ensure the staff they employ fit the roles well and in turn have a happier and more productive and efficient workforce employee (Pritchard, Roth, Jones, Galgay & Watson 1988).
Appraisals should be a positive experience, however many employees find appraisals daunting and stressful. The appraisal process can be made a little easier by the introduction of a series of informal and relaxed 1-2-1 meetings over the course of the period between appraisals. This gives employees and their line manager an opportunity to discuss work, career, aims, progress, development, life, common interests, etc, and get to know and trust each other. This also means that managers will always be up to date with staff activities; difficult issues can be identified, discussed and resolved within an appropriate timescale; and progress on objectives and training requirements can be reviewed regularly (Businessballs n.d.).
Many organisations find that employees are resistant to change as they fear their workload will increase. However regular feedback and employee input assists to balance out any negativity and puts control back with the employee (Pritchard, Roth, Jones, Galgay & Watson 1988). Feedback also ensures that employees know where to focus their efforts and work smarter.
By doing this, much of the preparation for the final appraisal will already have been covered before the appraisal reducing the stress and anxiety for both the employee and the manager.
The actual appraisal is more...