Rizwana Habib

Performance of an Employee often determines the progress of the company. Poor appraisals and improper assessment adversely affect the employee’s satisfaction which deteriorates company results. This is because most of the managers rely primarily on behavioral impressions of the employees. Such managers don’t have appropriate factual information of the actual work done by the employees.

Quality assurance on the other hand is to develop a culture in an organization where the performance of the company is determined collectively. The individual’s performance in such a culture is neither taken into account nor criticized. All the people are considered to be at equal level in such an organization. The judgement of an individual by old traditional appraisal system, creates frustration, especially when such an individual is ranked as average or below average.

This article will describe all the needs and problems of old traditional appraisal system. It will also discuss that why it cannot go hand in hand with quality assurance system.

If a person is seeking constant improvement, he/she will definitely become interested in applying performance appraisals. Genuinely speaking, performance appraisal is to find out how a worker was performing in comparison with the expectations of his/her boss. But consider the situation that if a person is supervising a department having 19 employees and had to appraise all of them, without taking any observations of such employees for the whole year. Would not such performance appraisal prove a nightmare for the employees?

No doubt, writing the performance appraisal having observations and understanding of the employees help in reducing a hectic task into something much more manageable. But at the same time, it is not easy to appraise the performance of highly technical employees and is quite different from writing appraisals for non-technical employees.

The performance appraisal helps as: (i) A common understanding between the appraiser and appraisee is established regarding the task to be completed and the way to evaluate the task (ii) The clarification and modification of the targets and rectification of the poor performance and recognition and awarding super job becomes possible on the basis of continuous feed-back and (iii) An appraisal is basically written for formal performance after completion of the task assigned to an employee.

The important features of conventional appraisal system are (a) Some standards are specific and the employee is held accountable for performing below those standards. The employee has to either meet or negotiate such standards. The performance of an employee might be a mixture of either meeting or negotiating these standards. But important is that there is no exemption for any employee from performance appraisal. (b) Usually employer holds two sessions: one for establishment of the standards and another to review the overall performance. (c) The most popular appraisal is the annual performance evaluation report. A review after six-month job and a mid-term appraisal are also prevailing in some organizations. Some organizations use pre-evaluation proforma to share achievements and deficiencies of employees. (d) The assessor is mostly immediate boss of the person to be assessed. € The evaluation session of the person to be assessed results in written conclusion. Sometimes a specific rating is awarded and sometimes gradations like "exceeds standards" or "needs help” are used.

Traditional performance appraisal system is negative in the sense that it brings employees in confrontation of each other. It can create differences in the work group. Traditional appraisals activate traditional hierarchy and a manager is supposed to support his employees. A manager sets/approves the goals in traditional performance appraisal and behaves in an authoritarian way instead of behaving like facilitator.

Duty of a manager doing appraisal is to give fair and proper opinion to employee regarding his/her performance on duty in view of administration’s goals, to guide workers the way to achieve aims/goals of duty, to try to link targets of organization with personal goals of duty and to communicate the employee's strengths and weaknesses. Traditional performance appraisal method consists of evaluating individual’s contributions in achieving organization goals and that of entire department, collections of information used for planning regarding work scheduling plans, budgeting, and human resources, making decisions about Promotion, separation, and transfer of employees, making decisions regarding promotions and other organizational rewards and diagnosing and deciding about training and other developmental needs.

In developmental approach to performance appraisal, an employee is taken as an individual and this approach is used to judge the contribution of the employee to the organization. It consists of providing an opportunity to the employees to indicate his/her ambition, retaining ambitious and capable employees showing a bit organizational interest in his/her development instead of losing his/her confidence and proving, a well performing employee, the due satisfaction and encouragement.

Some professionals of quality are of the strict opinion to get rid of personal assessment, but, some have a middle opinion to provide both individual and team feedback. Without strong interchange of information between the supervisor and the worker, it's difficult to develop employees. The question comes in mind that wherefrom to start improving. What specifically can be done by the recipient to improve is an important question to be asked.

Quality can never be assured until managers don’t stop giving undue importance to the individual workers and make true realization that how important the system and procedure are. Nothing will work without having a real change in mind-set of the managers.

Debundling is a good alternative to performance appraisal because performance appraisal is just like a cart with too heavy load and if each piece of baggage is removed and a separate vehicle is built for each, the work could be done. Some steps to be taken in debundling is that EVERY SERVICE AND ANTICIPATED ADVANTAGE SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED AS VITAL (I) For groups to fulfill tasks with success (ii) For organization to deal every task separately (iii) Best way should be sought to successfully accomplish each service and expected benefit and (iv) For each service or expected benefit to be successfully accomplished, separate systems and processes should be set up specifically designed for that.

Conclusion: W. Edwards Deming has clearly declared that Total Quality Management and traditional performance appraisal system are not compatible with each other. Deming in fact claims that "performance assessment, merit grading and annual appraisals" are Deadly Diseases which become the real cause of commitment death of the employees.

The question here arises that is there any possibility for Total Quality Management and traditional appraisals to stay together? The fundamental requirements of TQM are customer-awareness, systems- philosophy, an admiration for teamwork, specialization of measures of betterment, and thoughtfulness for process of personal motivation and learning, which are basic values and ethics of TQM and totally undermine performance appraisal. TQM focuses on customers and demand full understanding, control, and improvement in processes for customer’s benefit. The aim of the performance appraisal is to control the behavior of an individual for manager’s satisfaction. The leaders can pick either of two approaches but not both.–Email: gratesyed5@yahoo.com