Term Paper: Performance Planning and Review Making Employee Appraisals Work

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Employee Performance Appraisal Planning

Rudman, R. (2003) Performance planning and review: Making employee appraisals work. Crows Nest, N.S.W., Allen & Unwin. ISBN: 978-1741141036

Rudman (2003) in his work, Performance Planning & Review: Making Employee Appraisals Work, provides research and information on performance management. The material is presented in a way that will benefit corporations, managers & supervisors, students and others interested in learning they how's and why's of performance planning. Rudman suggests that much dissatisfaction currently surrounds the performance review process. He criticizes the current system, suggesting performance reviews can be a tool managers use without fear or challenge to encourage employees and teams to perform better. The author also provides information about planning a performance review, noting the importance of using competency-based reviews for some items vs. team reviews when assessing the organizations' overall performance.

Author's Main Point

Rudman suggests employee performance review systems are critical to an organization's or individual's success and must be completed systematically for the best outcome. Rudman (2003) is a proponent of what he calls "year-round" performance reviews that are integrated in the daily schedules of managers and others using performance measures to determine the productivity and efficiency of workers and the organization as a whole.

Identification of Main Elements of Argument (reasons author cites to support)

Rudman offers many reasons for conducting integrated and systematic performance reviews during the year. First, the author suggests that few people currently look forward to "annual performance reviews" with their managers, and managers do not like to "take on the role of judge" (p.1). Most people consider according to Rudman, performance reviews to be something "necessary" but also something they just want to get over and done with. Rudman notes opposition claims performance appraisals usually fail because the objectives within them have no real purpose. The author tries to offer positive evidence however, that the opposite is true. Rudman claims performance appraisals, when conducted, planned and initiated in the right way, can dramatically improve performance whether performance is related to the organization, a manager or individual employees working with a company.

Rudman also suggests that performance appraisals have "always been challenging" for organizations and managers, suggesting that the first appraisal started long ago with the hiring of the first employee (pp.2-4). Rudman does not provide evidence that the first performance reviews conducted were poor, rather he assumes they were challenging because he suggests many managers today find them challenging. The real argument however, is that many managers simply lack the training they need to conduct performance reviews in a way that is not cumbersome. It is good to note however, Rudman does state the information about pre-existing appraisals is gathered and a reflection of his own opinion primarily, rather than textual evidence from others.

Rudman then goes on to focus on the many ways performance appraisals can be altered to make them worthwhile and exciting. He reviews many of the terms used in performance reviews, suggesting the words "planning" and "review" are more important to use than others because these terms teach the individual using the appraisal what it is they are going to do with the appraisal (p.3). Rudman notes that it is impossible however, to simply change the "name" and "process" to make performance appraisals work; rather he notes reviews must be made in such a way that matches the "culture" of the organization (p.4). That means the review format and process should reflect the culture or the values, systems, and beliefs that are most important to the employer conducting the review and the individual receiving the review. Rudman claims the term "performance" is a "business buzz word," but that many do not realize what exactly performance means (p.7). To achieve what an organization wants, which in this case is an effective and well-received review, the organization must first define "performance" for the company and the people working for it. He offers more terms including "work activity" and "focused behavior" in an attempt to help the reader understand what is meant by performance (p. 7).

In chapter 3, Rudman continues to offer reasons why performance systems are not successful. He suggests they are "another add-on human resources technique" that most people do not believe in (p.22). He suggests that people "in particular dislike the appraisal interview" which he suggests is done far too often when managers are busy "with other plans" (p. 22). Again however, he lacks evidence that this actually happens. He does not offer any evidence that performance reviews fail because people do not like the interview process. Business managers in many companies set aside time to do performance reviews, so there is not proof that managers conduct them when they are already busy with other affairs.

A good suggestion offered buy Rudman is the idea that performance discussions during the interview should "provide an opportunity for people who work together to step back and summarize the period ended" so they can plan ahead and review the work completed so far (p.56). This suggests the author, allows people to focus on what they achieved and what they could have done better over a short period rather than an annual period, because it is often difficult to remember how well an employee did during the course of a year. In fact, it is likely most managers only remember the employee's performance during the last six weeks (Rudman, 2003).

The author supports the use of constructive criticism, meaning offered information on how the employee can improve in areas where he or she does not perform well. In chapter 6 again Rudman leads with a statement suggesting "end-of-year reviews are unpleasant" for both employees and managers. Where is the proof? Rudman consistently refers to how organizations work, without providing evidence of how they work. Overall, Rudman does offer much in the way of good advice about how to structure and deliver a performance review. He fails however, to capture the reader's attention at the start of the book, and very infrequently provides evidence of the claims made regarding dissatisfaction with current review systems.

Discussion of Conclusion

Rudman concludes by offering information on team performance reviews, suggesting team-based reviews are novel and will encourage employees to work together to realize significant rewards, rewards they might not realize if they were individually considered or appraised. He also provides information on the many rewards the organization can offer to teams and individuals as incentives for performing well or achieving their goals for a defined period. The conclusion does assert how important it is to recognize the achievement of work groups or teams, because more and more managers are considering team-based review approaches, and need to know how they can plan and deliver them successfully. The author provides a well-defined example of how an employer or managers can develop and implement a team-based review system that considers the performance of the individual and the team throughout the year. The author suggests that well-designed and implemented plans are vital to the success of the organization. While Rudman's conclusions may be valid, he fails to provide unquestionable evidence that his planning strategies or assessments are empirically based. The entire work would benefit from more conclusive evidence showing how his review system has worked for at least a dozen organizations.

Identification 2 Problems/Strengths

Rudman does do a good job of explaining what the opposition claims is wrong with performance appraisals. For example, he begins with a critique by Tom Peters, who suggests that employee evaluation is "more critical than ever" making appraisals more of a chore than they ought to be (p.1). Rudman makes a good point when he confirms that traditional performance reviews do not serve a purpose, but then claims it is because company's either don't have the right system or do not use the system they do have appropriately. Rudman fails however, to show what companies he refers to, or provide an outline of the companies that have good performance systems in place vs. bad ones at the very start of the work.

Rudman also provides a very brief review of how and why current appraisals add to "the pressures on managers' time" (p.2), a critical failure according to Rudman, without providing examples of testimonies by managers that agree with this. While he does cite one British study, his review should provide more comprehensive information here. The goal is to help people first understand WHY performance appraisals of today do not work. Rudman must then establish interest in the review process, so the reader is more likely to continue evaluating his argument instead of putting down the book for another one.

Fixes/Strengths for Above Rudman would provide the reader with a much stronger desire to read what he has to say if he provided more examples for the reasons why current appraisals fail. He does not for example, provide many instances where specific companies have used failing appraisals, Rather, he expects the reader to jump in and believe him. To fix this he could easily re-arrange the entire work to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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