Rather than being locked into a fixed system, this open-ended method gives supervisors the freedom of expression and critical thought. This thorough, non-quantitative assessment provides a good deal more information about an employee than most other performance appraisal techniques. However, as with all performance appraisal methods, there are a few limitations that the essay method suffers from that are worth examining.
One of the major drawbacks of the essay method is its highly subjective nature --they are often subject to bias, and it can be difficult to separate the assessment of the employee from the bias of the evaluator.
The Role and Purpose of Performance Appraisal
While the essay can provide a good deal of information about the employee, it tends to tell more about the evaluator than the one being evaluated. Another element that essays leave out that other appraisal methods rely heavily on is comparative results.
Instead of utilizing standardized, numeric questions, these appraisals rely only on open-ended questions. This often makes it difficult for HR to distinguish top performers. Even the actual writing of the reviews can upset or distort the process of employee appraisals, as the introduction of inconsistent, unorganized, or poor writing styles can distort and upset the review process. Appraisal by essay is generally most effective in performance reviews for employees with atypical job descriptions or non-numerical goals. While other appraisals work well in analyzing performance for jobs that are subject to goals based on numbers, essays offer a more subjective analysis of performance for employees with managerial or customer service positions.
When analyzing production, the essay method is most effective in combination with another appraisal method.
Using a graphic rating scale along with essay appraisals allows one method to focus solely on numbers, while the essay portion can be used to analyze other performance goals. Here are 3 things to strive for in order to set your company up for success in essay performance appraisals:.
Keeping a standard for style and length of essay appraisals can make the biggest difference in ensuring that your reviews are effective. The appraiser should also ensure that they are making sufficient time in their schedule to prepare the essay. Even if an essay contains detailed, circumstantial information, it becomes difficult to extract valuable data from a poorly written essay. Subjectivity is both a strength and a weakness in essay appraisals.
Organizations often implement this goal by pairing essay appraisals with another appraisal method, such as graphic scale ratings , to draw more accurate conclusions and performance data. In so doing, evaluators can utilize all of the free expression and open-ended characteristics of an essay appraisal, while still maintaining accurate, easily translated results that are effective for the overall organization. PerformYard drives employee performance for the enterprise through our intuitive web-based software platform.
This can be done in cases where an organization is rather flat, and it makes sense to compare a collection of employees together. The downside is that it can create a false sense of competition within employee groups or can result in bad attitudes. The essay method is a fairly straightforward approach in which the manager or evaluator writes a descriptive essay about each employee.
The essay would cover the employees' achievements throughout the evaluation period as well as their strengths and weaknesses. However, the essay method can be time consuming for the manager, and it requires a certain level of writing skill for the evaluation to be meaningful.
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It also is unlikely to be systematic, which can make it difficult to compare evaluations from person to person. The performance evaluation essay is maybe the most interesting of the methods, as it allows a manager to genuinely express thoughts about the employee in question rather than having to work with a template or list of criteria or comparisons. There are advantages to this, mainly in allowing the appraisers to focus on what they feel is important for each individual whom they are evaluating. The key to a successful performance appraisal essay is the writing skills of the person assembling it.
Her attention to basic essay structure and her descriptions of the behaviors on which she focuses will determine whether the right message will get across during the evaluation, both to the employee and to the team of other managers and human resources employees who may be involved with ratings, promotions and improvement plans. Some attention to basic essay-writing principles should help the evaluator construct an essay that will be meaningful to all parties involved. The essay should open with an introduction summarizing the work completed by the employee during the evaluation period.
Be sure to note key projects and pay attention to ongoing work as well as completed jobs.
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This is the time to discuss what the employee has done and recognize his overall contribution to the business. For example:. Jon successfully supported the infrastructure team, the McAce project and the office renovations project with technical drawings and materials lists as requested.
Essay on The Performance Appraisal - Words | Bartleby
He personally was able to complete the ventilation upgrade project, which ran over schedule but came in under budget. He submitted all monthly reports on time and took a training course this year to improve his skills at AutoCAD. The next portion of the essay should highlight some real successes for the employee. Mention his strengths and any areas where he has shown visible improvement over past performance.
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In this portion, focus less on what was done and more on how it was done. To continue the example:. This makes it much easier for the department to manage our overall budget appropriately and is greatly appreciated. He also had huge success with his contributions to the McAce project, which would have fallen behind schedule without his work. After calling out successes, take some time to consider areas in which the employee needs improvement.
Essay Appraisal Method
For employees currently meeting all expectations, consider their future career path: Are there areas they need to develop in order to move into a new position? For employees whose performance may not be up to par, try to address it fairly and be straightforward and logical. One such corrective action might be making sure to check with operators and maintenance personnel before launching a new project concept to make sure the problem at hand is actually being solved.
In some cases, a corrective action should be suggested. The essay should end with a forward plan for the employee, involving any additional training or development she may need to meet current expectations as well as some sort of idea of the next step in her career.