9 Practical Performance Appraisal Methods: Which Is Best?

Imagine an organization where employees work without feedback on how excellent or bad their services are. There will undoubtedly be no improvement, but rather, very low productivity.

Performance appraisal is a crucial component of any organization’s management strategy. It allows for evaluating employee performance and identify key areas for improvement. With the numerous performance appraisal categories available, you should be able to find one that will fit your organization’s needs. 

Every organization needs to have an employee appraisal system in place. This is one of the many ways to gauge employees’ effectiveness and their work in the organization. This article discusses the different categories of performance appraisals you could pick from to produce meaningful results. 

What Is Performance Appraisal?

Performance appraisal is a process in which an organization assesses and evaluates the overall job performance of its employees. The goal of performance appraisal is to provide feedback to employees about their job performance and to identify areas for improvement.

Effective performance appraisal is crucial for the overall effectiveness of the organization. An assessment may be based on various factors, including job knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics. Organizations use performance appraisal to make salary increments, bonuses, and termination decisions. 

Benefits of Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal is a system designed to evaluate and monitor workers’ performance. This helps supervisors in guiding and coach employees to improve their performance. 

The process helps to improve organizational growth and productivity. Some of the benefits of performance appraisal include:

  • Provides a structured approach for evaluating employee performance.
  • Helps identify employee strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Allows for the setting of specific, measurable goals and objectives.
  • Provides an opportunity for ongoing feedback and communication between managers and employees.
  • Serves as a basis for making decisions about promotions, salary increases, and other career development opportunities.

Performance Appraisal Categories

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Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

There are several performance appraisal categories. Here are some of the most common categories:

1. Self-Evaluation

This method involves having the employee complete a self-assessment of their performance, which their supervisor then reviews. The self-evaluation may include a list of job-related tasks and responsibilities, in which the employee is asked to rate their performance in each area.

Self-evaluation method helps promote self-awareness and self-development. However, it may not provide a complete or accurate picture of the employee’s performance.

2. Peer Review

This method involves having the employee’s colleagues provide feedback on the employee’s job performance. This can be done through a structured process, such as a survey or a meeting. Or informally through regular interactions with the colleague providing the review. Peer review can help get a broad perspective on the employee’s performance. However, it may be subject to bias or lack of objectivity.

3. Ranking Method

This method involves ranking employees according to their performance, from the highest to the lowest. The ranking method is simple, and it is also effortless to understand.

However, it does not consider individual employees’ specific skills or contributions. It can also lead to bias and unfairness.

4. Forced Choice Method

Forced choice method provides a list of statements about an employee’s performance. The evaluator must choose the statement that best describes the employee’s performance.

The forced choice method provides more specific feedback about an employee’s performance. However, it can be subjective and may not comprehensively understand an employee’s overall performance.

5. Graphic Rating Scale Method

This method involves rating an employee’s performance on a scale, such as a 1-5 or 1-10 rating scale. It is objective and allows for easy comparison of employee performance. However, it may not provide detailed feedback about an employee’s performance and can be subject to bias.

6. Checklist Method

The checklist method uses specific criteria to evaluate an employee’s performance. It is objective and allows for easy comparison of employee performance. However, it may not provide detailed feedback about an employee’s performance and can be time-consuming to complete.

7. 360-Degree Feedback

The 360-degree feedback method involves collecting feedback about an employee’s performance from various sources, including supervisors, coworkers, and clients. It provides a comprehensive understanding of an employee’s performance from multiple perspectives. However, gathering and analyzing the feedback can take time, and it may not be feasible for smaller organizations.

8. Behavioral Observation Scale

This method involves evaluating an employee’s performance based on specific behaviors or competencies. It is objective and allows for specific feedback about an employee’s performance. However, it may be time-consuming to observe and document employee behavior. It may not also be ideal for comprehensively understanding an employee’s overall performance.

9. Management by Objectives (MBO)

This method involves setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals for the employee. And then evaluating their performance based on their progress toward achieving these goals. MBO involves the employee and their manager jointly setting and agreeing on the plans to help ensure commitment to the goals. 

MBO helps to align employee performance with organizational objectives and promotes continuous improvement. However, it may be time-consuming to implement and may not consider unexpected challenges or changes in the work environment.

Which Performance Appraisal Method Is Best?

The time you have to dedicate, and your goals for the reviews play a significant part in determining the best approach for your organization.

You can also combine parts of each method into your performance review. For example, using Management by objective (MOB), you can track progress toward specific goals, like sales targets. On the other hand, a behavior-based appraisal may help determine how roles might be modified to allow employees play to their strengths.

The key is to use the same procedure when reviewing every employee to avoid discrimination.

Wrapping Up

Performance appraisal is not a once-in-a-blue-moon event. It is an ongoing process that can help your employees have a better experience at work. And improve their performance while achieving the organization’s objectives. 

If you’re already conducting performance appraisal, you have already taken one step toward enhancing your employees’ ability. However, you should brush up on the points we have discussed here and consider revising your methods as necessary. If your organization has no performance appraisal strategy in place, it’s time to start.

Take the time to review the various appraisal categories in this guide and choose the one that best suits your organization. Remember that performance appraisal is aimed at the betterment of the organization – who doesn’t want to get better?

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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