Realizing the well-known management adage-“Something that can be measured can be controlled”- is what which an appraisal system envisages through performance measurement. However, it’s plagued by many unscientific methodologies adopted. Many small organizations use informal channels for reaching appraisal outcomes. Such channels can give accurate results only up to an extent. As long as a company stays small and the rater has knowledge about day to day functions of the employee, it will work. Most small companies will not be in a position to dedicate someone to do appraisal-related tasks full time. It will be just one among the task portfolio of the general Manager or CEO.
What is critical is CEO getting alerted at the right time that his company can’t grow any further without proper categorization of the employees. Once this is done, job analysis for each position needs to be conducted to build a relevant questionnaire. After this stage, the actual evaluation will start, provided the organization has a robust structure in place which defines superior – subordinate relationships.
Even if all this ground work is done, still appraisal can go haywire due to irresponsible ratings by appraisers. This is where sensitization of employees on the operational aspects of the appraisal process is required. They should know that an extravagant or a too miserly rating can kill the noble aims of the entire effort. Normalization can be done but most often; it requires the help of an external consultant which may be costly. Thus only a responsible rating can make the appraisal process fruitful.
Granularity of questionnaire content is another factor, which needs serious attention. For an organization which has never gone through any appraisal cycles, sufficient granularity of the questionnaire is a must so that it covers all aspects of an employee’s work. Questions should be designed in such a way that it will provoke the thought process of the appraiser to assess all areas of his subordinate’s work.
From a practical point of view, it would be nice to start off with 90 degree appraisal and expand it further to 180 and 360 degrees, depending on the appraisal outcomes. Something that works is preferred rather than something, which is ideal.