Appraisal. A word to make anyone suddenly worry about the security of their job or pay packet. But what is this thing called appraisal, and what on earth is 360-degree feedback?
This article aims to clear up some of the myths surrounding the subject and show that appraisal is not nearly as scary as one might think. In fact, far from being merely a meaningless form-filling exercise, appraisal can be an invaluable tool in maintaining a happy and productive workplace. It is not a instrument for managers to find fault with your work, but a medium through which you can identify your own strengths and areas for development. Perhaps the reason for so much trepidation and mistrust of appraisal lies in the fact that it often tends to be done poorly and in an unstructured way.
One of the most common purposes of appraisal is to enable some kind of assessment to be made of an employee. This may be against some pre-set objectives, or it may be in terms of ratings on job competencies. If performance appraisal is to be constructive and useful, there must be something in it for both the appraisers and the employees being appraised.
Feedback is a key factor in this perception of equity. It is also worth considering the real aims of the exercise. Appraisal feedback sessions can provide an opportunity for constructive dialogue with managers and may help in identifying training needs. The results of an appraisal can also be used to ensure the fair distribution of rewards, be they financial rewards such as bonuses, or non-financial perks.
Organizations are becoming increasingly knowledge-based, and the pace of technological change has demanded an adaptive and flexible workforce. The use of appraisal can help to turn an organization in confusion into an effective and focused collection of personnel. After all, it is the people that are a company's most valuable assets.