Employee Evaluations Are Undergoing Re-Evaluation

Article excerpt

Employees whose job performance in the past has been evaluated by their supervisors alone now may find themselves subject to multiple scrutiny - by their peers, subordinates and even customers.

Companies are opting for multiple evaluations, sometimes called 360 feedback, because most traditional rating systems "are seriously deficient," said management consultant Craig Schneier of Pennington, N.J.

Under the traditional method, managers often disliked giving employees poor marks. Employees would get a positive rating whether they earned it or not.

Many managers claim they hire only top people and are unable to admit they've brought in a poor performer, Schneier said. "Who wants to give a negative performance especially when you're not going to get rid of them?" he said.

Besides, he pointed out, "There's so little difference in pay between average and outstanding employees . . . why go through all this trouble to differentiate on performance?"

According to Susan Brodt, a business professor at the University of Virginia, performance interviews can be a "waste of time" when sensitive topics go undiscussed and appraisals conducted annually or every six months often take place long after unwanted behavior occurs.

Furthermore, managers often can't obtain precise measurements of employees who work as part of a team. Others fear legal repercussions if they give a poor rating.

Companies need accurate and fair assessments of their workers for a variety of reasons, Schneier said. …