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Organizational Behavior & Leadership

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The ability of the employees to handle the jobs they are to accomplish is determined by performance evaluation. The elements considered for evaluation include: work processes and results, communication skills, decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, program management capabilities, planning abilities, and the ability of workers to deal with an external environment (Cardy, 2008). All these factors measure the ability of the workers to accomplish their roles effectively as envisaged by the management. In performance evaluation, the aim is to appraise both delivery of goals and behavioral metrics. This exercise is used to rate and encourage outstanding performance rather than point at shortcomings of employees.

In regard to the evaluation methods commonly used, the management objectives, the rating scale, and the critical incidents all matter since they guide in the evaluation of performance amongst workers within some organizations (Douma, 1998). However, some methods are highly subjective and may not present a clear picture regarding what the situation is in an organization. The rating system is used to gauge the ability of an employee to deliver the set objectives. Measuring some parameters of an employee is a daunting task. These measures are not directly linked to the overall performance of an employee. However, they offer some guidance on what should be expected from the performance of the worker.

Regarding the organization’s objectives, the way and level in which they are set are key factors. A wise way and appropriate level can be appropriate, while a reckless setting would be imprudent, as the performance would prove difficult to measure against such benchmarks. The other criterion is based on critical incidents. The way some employees deal with them is critical in evaluating the performance. The criterion is subjective and tells more about any particular worker. The approach of measuring is seen to be controversial in this case because different scenarios would arise depending on the workers involved. An attempt of standardizing them is a tricky affair.

There are a number of advantages as well as disadvantages of including supervisors, peers, and subordinates in performance evaluation. In conducting the exercise on the said persons, all at the same period, tension and uneasiness are created amongst the workers. This does not lead to the establishment of a favorable environment, upon which the processes of the organization are held in the pursuit of the set objectives. In evaluating these workers, the exercise should be done starting from the top management. This should be done at different times to allow calmness within the organization.

Common Evaluation Methods

Rating scales - A rating scale allows a business owner to establish the key areas the appraisal would study for analysis, such as the skills held, teamwork spirit, ability to  communicate, reliability and adaptability to work in various environments. The rating can be done to show the skills necessary for carrying out work. For example, a human resource division would interrogate and rate on communication effectiveness, while an assembly worker would review and rate technical skills held by an employee.

Critical Incidents - In this regard, the management maintains data or information on employees (Martin, 1998). Instances when there was an admirable performance or an extreme performance are noted, which are  used to rate the employee involved. Skills like teamwork and leadership are easily measured during these extreme seasons in the work of  employees. The way such incidents were handled by the worker in question helps to study and analyze him, thereby evaluating the performance of employees.

Management objectives - The management together with the workers identifies the objectives of the organization and set mechanisms for their achievement. The objectives set should be realistic, measurable, specific, attainable, and given specific time frames. For instance, the objectives may include an increase in production levels say by five percent given a one-year period. The performance by the end of the year is rated based on the closeness to the set aims. Thus, all the three methods evaluate performance of employees. The rating scale involves an award of points in recognition of levels of satisfaction regarding the set goals. The second approach, Critical Incidents, also rate the employees based on the way they handle extreme events; while the Management Objectives method rates the workers based on their performance in relation to the objectives or overall goals of the organization.

A rating scale bases its analysis on the capability of the employees e.g. technical skills held or ability to communicate effectively or efficiently (Martin, 1998). The Critical incidents method evaluates performance based on the employees’ ability to handle some incidents. The results are analyzed to evaluate their performance. In such a case, the employee and performance are studied before making performance evaluation. Under the Management Objectives, the end-result is only analyzed to check whether it meets the set objectives. The employees’ ability is not put under scrutiny in this case like in the earlier cases.

There are advantages and disadvantages associated with employee involvement in the evaluation exercise too. The positives include the prospects of achieving employee satisfaction. Where they are involved, their grievances are heard fast. .In this is the case, the objectives of the organization are easily realized because they are comfortable and  only concentrate on working rather than complaining and solving disputes. The other significant thing associated with employee involvement is the concept of gaining better ideas. The employees execute work well and their opinions would be influential in shaping the destiny of the organization.  By involving them, many ideas are generated for decision making. Disadvantages include blurring the manager-employee boundary. By involving the employees, they may be used to the management and thereby creating unhealthy relations, which may affect the operations of the organization. Having a complex communication system is also another scenario likely to arise. The employees may start reporting to those they feel comfortable which will likely lead to chaos regarding communication and authority. A close study and analysis of the situation should be done so as to establish the correct mechanism to hold and conduct an employee evaluation exercise.

The common biases and errors likely to be encountered in performance appraisal are the halo effect, overemphasis on isolated events and skipping of the performance evaluation exercise. The Halo effect means the prior influence based on the past activities or modes of behavior of an employee. Those who appraise are tempted to have some beliefs regarding the capabilities of employees based on how they have known them. This prevents or affects the quality of the evaluation. The second error is that of overemphasizing past events. Judgments are already drawn even before the appraisal is done simply because of a certain happening. Some events could be shocks or accidents. If allowed to prevent a fair employee appraisal, then the evaluation is regarded to erroneous since the appraisal is subjective from the outset. The other error is the temptation of regarding the exercise as not being serious and attaching little value to it. Those expected to grace the occasion are biased towards avoiding it and attending to other duties that they consider vital. Other managers postpone it because of the minimal significance it may add to the company. There is a need to understand the relevance of performance evaluation of employees within an organization so as to align it with that of the business. Co-operation should be accorded to the exercise to sail through given its importance.

Some of the techniques that can help improve performance evaluation techniques include goal setting, supervisor training and peer evaluations. On Goal setting, the supervisors together with their juniors should analyze their workload and come up with reasonable goals that are achievable within some time, and that would optimize the operations within the organization. By so doing, the employees are motivated to work hard and achieve the objectives of which they took part in the formulation. This would thereby allow smooth operations within the organization and hence realize the set objectives. The second way is by supervisor training. The personnel should be trained on how to handle human resource.

They should motivate employees and be leaders other than being supervisors who do not encourage openness in the way activities of the organization are carried out. A properly trained supervisor pool is crucial to manage the organization to realize set aims for the business. The last means is by encouraging of peer evaluations. Amongst the employees they evaluate themselves. This eliminates pressure that may be brought when evaluation is done by the senior employees or outsiders. This would boost confidence of the employees and make them free to perform their duties (Martin, 1998). Also, the method of evaluation should be as effortless as possible, but achieve the required results. It should also promote calmness within the organization by being flexible and predictable.

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