performance management

Performance Management

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Ranking and Rating Systems

One of the essential components to appraising an organization’s workforce is through the use of rating and ranking systems. No one will dispute that the use of charts and grids to determine business solutions in the human resources realm is one of the best ways to get direct results onto a page. Indeed, it is said to be a fundamental starting point when making big decisions about promotions and layoffs. As with any grid system there is always an element of imperfection, even after all the numbers are been crunched. That said, however, it is hard to dispute that this simple, quantitative approach to employee performance appraisal is impossible to ignore. It requires a good deal of careful bookkeeping, but often can yield very useful and informative results within the context of an employee evaluation.

A rating system is quite possibly one of the most-used systems methods of performance assessment. This is due, in a large part, to the simplicity of the system. The general scheme of the rating system can be drawn out on a card that lists desired objectives, skills or traits alongside a 1-5, ‘poor to excellent’ type of scale. In fact, a small easy-to-read card is usually what is used. Everything from an employee’s ability to meet deadlines to the employee’s level of smarts on the job can be determined through the judgment of the rater. The person in charge of rating employees is different from business to business. Some supervisors are solely responsible for rating, while others let employees rate themselves. Still others combine both the supervisor’s and the employees’ own rating. The objective in any case is to reach a uniform and objective result, submitted on scheduled basis.

The wide scope of application and standardization is what really turns on business managers. On top of this, the rating system is a markedly low stress endeavor. Indeed, that is why it is so widely utilized. It takes a supervisor just minutes to complete a rating assignment, and neither the supervisor nor the employees will require any drawn out explanation on how to use the system. It should be remembered, however, that rating is not a fix all solution. Its benefits are limited unless combined with other essential elements of performance appraisal.

Ranking systems take a markedly different approach, by comparing employees against one another. In the classroom, this is similar to grading on the curve. Instead of applying a set standard to all employees, the best performer can determine where everyone else fits in. This, in turn, creates a level of healthy competition as employees strive to outperform each other and reach the top of the heap. Of course, such a system of ranking must be coupled with a clear incentive program in order to be fully effective. It should be noted, however, that competition in and of itself is a highly effective tool in catalyzing productivity. In addition to presenting clear rewards, effective ranking thrives on the creation of concrete steps each employee can take to achieve success. Great importance should be placed upon the objective criteria for advancement (i.e. level of actual productivity) rather than on personality traits. This gives every employee a sense that he or she can succeed.