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Critical Thinking: Making a job easier or making it worse

Making a job easier or making it worse

Most all workers want and deserve to know how they are doing. However, many managers dread appraising the performance of workers and either put it off or not do it very well. A growing number of companies are offering technology that addresses this problem. Software can now not only make the rating task paperless and as easy as point and click, but it also generates feedback and performance improvement suggestions that can be entirely automated. For example, Performa Works is a company that offers a software package, called eWorkbench that allows 360-degree appraisal by bosses, peers, subordinates, and even customers.

The software is designed to evaluate employees on goals tied to the organizationâ??s objectives. The software can calculate the extent to which each employee has contributed to those objectives and, therefore, to the organizations bottom line. The program provides an electronic means for aligning everyone with the same mission and making sure everyone is working toward the same organizational goals.

Knowledge Point is another company that offers an electronic appraisal tool. The Knowledge Point software is Web based and focuses on goals and competencies that can be generic or customized (see www.performancereview.com). In addition, depending on rating levels, the software generates a narrative performance summary to hand to the worker that describes performance levels on competencies or goals and suggests actions the worker should take to improve performance.

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. What advantages might there be to using the types of software just described for evaluating the performance of workers? Are there rational advantages, such as speed? What about political advantages, such as a manager being able to blame a poor performance review on the software restrictions?

2. What disadvantages might there be to using the electronic approach to performance reviews? Examine this issue from the perspective of both managers and employees.

3. The major vendors of hosted online performance appraisal systems include KnowlegePoint, Softscape, Performa Works, and SuccessFacors.com. These applications can vary in price depending upon the number of employees and degree of functionality desired. However, a price of around $100,000 is typical for a midsized firm. The electronic approach offers savings in time and labor. A traditional (paper-based) approach to performance appraisal has been estimated to cost $1,500 per employee with some of the sources of this cost being time spent (1) creating goals and objectives;, (2) conducting reviews;, (3) designing, printing, copying, filing, and distributing appraisal forms;, (4) training supervisors to conduct appraisals;, and (5) dealing with post-appraisal appeals and grievances. An electronic approach might eliminate the costs of designing, printing, and so on, but the approach may not influence the other sources of cost. Do you think the costs of the online performance appraisal systems are worth it? Why? Consider expected costs and benefits to provide a rationale for your answer.

4. Based on your experience, examine the steps involved in reviewing performance. Considering these steps as separable parts of a bundle of performance review actions. Are there parts that make sense to do electronically and automatically? Are there parts that should not be done electronically? Go back to the lists of advantages and disadvantages you identified in your response to questions 1 and 2. Examine these advantages and disadvantages to see if some are particularly associated with making certain steps in the review process electronic and automatic. Your examination should consider the perspective of the manager, the employee, and the Human Relations Department.

Solution Preview

Critical Thinking: Making a job easier or making it worse

Questions:

1. What advantages might there be to using the types of software just described for evaluating the performance of workers? Are there rational advantages, such as speed? What about political advantages, such as a manager being able to blame a poor performance review on the software restrictions?

The advantages for using the types of software for evaluating worker performance may include reduced paperwork, increased productivity time, the ability to assess the employee in relation to goal-tracking, teamwork, progress reporting, competency checkup, and job knowledge. Other rational advantages such as speed, attendance, historical recording for comparison or overall judgment, and more are re also beneficial.

In terms of political advantages, such as a manager attempting to blame a poor performance review on the software restrictions, such potentials may still be likely; however, the margin of error is significantly reduced.

2. What disadvantages might there be to using the electronic approach to performance reviews? Examine this issue ...

Solution Summary

Whether critical thinking makes a job easier or makes it worse is determined. Software is designed to evaluate employees goals.

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