One thing I particularly like about staff performance appraisal is that designed properly it is the one thing that is an indicator of how well many other things are harmoniously working in the organization. Performance does not simply happen; it is a result of many systems working well together in the organization. For example it is an indicator of how well staff training, coaching, planning, delegation and leadership are working together by re-enforcing one another.
An effective staff performance appraisal is also an indicator of change as it should be able to show performance trend of the organization over a given period of time. Such performance trend would indicate the extent to which the various interventions the organization has put in place are working well together. And where else is the best place to check for this rather than at the organization's unit of performance; the individual staff level? So what can and should determine value of a performance appraisal system?
First of all a staff performance appraisal should be viewed as an integral part of the whole performance management system. Its design should be balanced against how well it will support and provide feedback to the other management systems in the organization. Since the overall focus of the organization is on performance, so should the performance appraisal; it should be results based. Moreover, in order to use performance as an indicator of change, performance appraisals should be done more frequently; say quarterly.
Although currently effective performance appraisal is rarely done in public organizations in Tanzania, where it is done it is conducted annually. Obviously, an annual performance appraisal does not give room for employees to improve relative to plan in an annual cycle of operations. Besides, with annual performance appraisal it will take only five performance appraisals for each employee in a span of five years, which is the medium term strategic planning cycle of public organizations.
Five performance appraisals in five years is a rather small statistic compared to twenty if one appraised staff on quarterly basis. With four appraisals in a year or twenty in five years one is able to capture change within the organization more readily and has better inputs for decision making and planning. Quarterly performance appraisal is also more beneficial to the employee in that not only does it guide them better in self-directed learning for personal development but it also enables them to have a good record of their performance trend.
Since performance is the focus, remember that performance is about satisfying customers. Depending on your role in the organization you will satisfy either external or internal customers. In order to think of a value based performance appraisal, consider these questions: Is your performance appraisal results based? What exactly do results mean in your organization in terms of external and internal customers? Does your performance appraisal enable tracking overall organizational performance?