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HR: Experience with performance appraisals; motivating or a waste of time.

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What is your experience with performance appraisals? Overall, have you found them motivating, de-motivating, a waste of time, or invaluable?

As you answer this question, please give a personal example to illustrate your answer and use one outside reference to enhance and/or support your perspective of appraisals.

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Performance Appraisal Systems

My experience with appraisals is that they are one of the most hated business processes in Corporate America. I know this both as a manager appraising employees and an employee who was apprised.

The problem is that despite efforts to make them factual, they are still subjective. I would spend hours developing my own accomplishments that I would send to my boss. I would spend days in appraisal meetings to rank employees for a mindless force-fitting process that would give only 10-15% of employees in a group the top rating. My colleague managers would try to convince me and other managers that their people should get the top rating and everyone else would do the same. What a waste of time.

I remember one year during which I got a great letter of commendation from a business unit director for work I did and my boss gave me a poor rating that almost cost me my job when our group went the a downsizing.

If you want I could go on. After working over 20 years for a specific I finally got the top rating in my last assignment.

Here some additional Resources and References

Typical Appraisal System
The Puzzle of Micromanaging Managers

When we bog senior staff down with mind-numbing procedures, we clearly aren't giving them the trust and support they deserve

Think, for instance, about the typical corporate performance-review process. As an HR person myself, I would think that a critical priority would be to implement the simplest and most time-effective performance-appraisal system ever. But that's not always what I see. Companies heap process on process and form on top of form, tying up managers' (and their teams') time. And that's a mistake. If we don't trust our managers to manage well, maybe what we need is new managers (or more ...

Solution Summary

The solution was written by an HR person who deals with performance appraisals in his work. He explains and demonstrates his position with example and personal history. He also includes two professional articles about the subject, which are both excellent for content.

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Disscusion Questions

Using in-text citiations and APA format, please respond to the questions below.

1. Julie Watkins has worked in her new position writing software documentation for three months. She keeps hearing about how important her job is to the company, but she does not understand how her work contributes to the whole. Her exposure to the company is limited to her department colleagues (other technical writers), the employee cafeteria, and the payroll office. What could Watkins's company have done to make her see the whole picture and gain an understanding of and commitment to how the company works?

2. Interviewing unqualified applicants can be a frustrating experience and a waste of time for managers, peers, or whoever is responsible for interviewing. How can the HR department minimize or eliminate this problem?

3. Superficially, it seems preferable to use objective performance data (such as productivity figures), when available, rather than subjective supervisory ratings to assess employees. Why might objective data be less effective performance measures than subjective ratings?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using seniority as the basis for layoff? What alternatives to seniority are available as layoff criteria?

5. What challenges do post-traditional family units pose to company career development plans? How can companies meet these challenges?

6. Should applicants be selected primarily on the basis of ability or on personality/fit? How can fit be assessed?

7. Today's organizations are flatter and offer fewer opportunities for advancement. How do you think careers should be developed in this type of organizational environment?

8. In an age when more and more companies are downsizing, an increasingly trendy concept is the "the virtual corporation." The idea is that a company should have a core of owners and managers, but that, to the greatest degree possible, workers should be contingent - temporary, part-time, or on short-term contracts. This gives the corporation maximum flexibility to shift vendors, cut costs, and avoid long-term labor commitments. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the virtual corporation from the point of view of both employers and workers?

9. Managing survivors in a layoff is important. As a manager, what concerns would you have about the surviving workforce after a layoff? How can the HR management staff be of assistance in providing support for the survivors of a layoff?

10. What is comparability? How can it be maximized in performance appraisal?

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