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Organizational Behaviour

Essay by 24  •  November 26, 2010  •  1,674 Words (7 Pages)  •  867 Views

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Working through the module I have gained a much deeper understanding of performance appraisals and how they affect the employee, supervisor and the firm. With the right frame of reference, performance appraisals can be, not only a positive experience, but also a valuable activity to all those involved. Both in the short-term and long-term, if properly managed, this process could be extremely effective and motivating. Once the employer and employees clearly understand the employee's value and potential to the company, the benefits seen are increased revenue, creativity, productivity, employee satisfaction and career path clarity.

The main purpose of a performance appraisal is for a supervisor to assess an employee's performance; to determine the direction of the role of the employee; and to further employee development. The performance appraisal will assist the supervisor to:

1. Ensure the employees are aligned with departmental and firm goals.

2. Measure and assess employee performance against standards and goals.

3. Identify any weaknesses and strengths of the employee.

4. Increase and improve communications leading to better relations between supervisor and employee.

5. Provide administration data for promotion, pay adjustment and training assignments.

6. Convey the respect and commitment the supervisor and the employee have for each other and the appraisal process.

For the employee the benefits can be enormous as the employee can:

1. Learn what behaviours and attitudes are working and others that they need to be improved.

2. Communicate the status of projects and goals, ensuring they are on the right track.

3. Communicate future developments and career aspirations

Thus the appraisal process is crucial to employee development and productivity. The appraisal process relies upon good, open communication between the supervisor and the employee.

Corporate politics in employee appraisals have always been a fact of life. It would be too idealistic for an employee to go into a performance appraisal thinking they are being evaluated on the accuracy of their performance. Unfortunately many other factors come into play. I have experienced manipulation of the appraisal first hand with the interpersonal dynamics between my supervisor and myself. A brother of mine has communicated to me his experience surrounding many of the factors listed in "Behind the Mask" article. He worked under a supervisor who loved his work, attention to detail and commitment to the firm. When it came to the bi-annual performance review the written document would not match what he verbally told my brother throughout the six-month period regarding his performance. The reasons were quite simple:

1. The supervisor was receiving great reviews from his supervisors and he figured if he were to continue to get good reviews he would hold his best subordinates back by not recommending my brother for promotion.

2. The supervisor used the decreasing relationship between them, as point of contention in the evaluation process because the supervisor doesn't feel my brother was a team player.

3. Since my brothers pay raise was tied to his performance ratings his supervisor would ensure the ratings were deflated.

4. The pay raise was also subject to not only the firm's results but also the division's results. Even though my brother performed well, the division and the firm didn't. Thus the amount of money attributed to raises was reduced.

Under this supervisor my brother was not being motivated or rewarded for his efforts. In order for him to benefit from his work performance he sought out other division managers who were seeking members for their team. He subsequently has transferred into a different division away from the supervisor, where he has found less politics and has established a better relationship with his new supervisor. To reduce this detrimental political activity there must be openness and trust between supervisors and employees. Each one must understand their roll in the appraisal process, as well as understand the appraisal process itself.

I have come to recognize through my own work history that supervisors dread performance appraisals they will go to great lengths to avoid them. Supervisors have great anxiety over the appraisal process because of the fear of confrontation and surprises. These results are due mostly because there hasn't been open communication.

With transit, my performance review was very brief. There was little communication about my role over the past year. In fact the only reason we met was for the supervisor to provide me with a pin that serves as recognition for another year with no accidents. No comments are forwarded from my supervisor or elicited from me just a handshake and maybe a comment of "Well done". If I were to engage the supervisor in conversation regarding any concerns or issues I have, I would be told to talk with a different level of supervisor within the area of question. My supervisor doesn't even spend the time to discuss how my role fits within the organization's goals. My supervisor is aware of my schooling but doesn't ask questions of any interest or offer any insight as to how my schooling can be of value to the organization. I left the performance review whether my supervisor even cares about me, or how I fit in with the goals of transit. Many drivers make generalized statements such as "that we are just a number to management who can be easily replaced". Certainly, I concur with this statement and have never had a feeling of empowerment. The conclusion the other drivers and I get is that the performance appraisal is a mandatory bureaucratic process used only for judgmental purposes.

Since my work history hasn't included non-unionized employment I can only provide the feeling that when it comes to performance appraisals for unionized employees, there is little effective use in appraisal meetings other than for career advancement. I have been left with the feeling that my supervisor doesn't take the appraisal process seriously as in one incident my supervisor commented that after one short two minute meeting he would write it down as our annual conference. It showed me that he was just fulfilling his duties on paper rather than being an effective supervisor.

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