Evaluating Current Employee Performance

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A third important component of any effective succession planning program is

some means of evaluating current employee performance. As noted earlier in

the book, people are rarely considered for promotion—or any other advancement

opportunity, for that matter—if they are not performing well in their

current jobs. Of course, a good performance appraisal system should measure

individual performance as it relates to work requirements, standards, performance

targets or expectations, or behavioral indicators tied to job competencies.

Traditionally, the process of evaluating current employee performance has

been handled with paper forms that are completed and then followed up on

by means of face-to-face interviews between workers and their immediate supervisors.

Often, the human resources department is responsible for establishing

the process by which individual performance is appraised. The information

gathered in this process is, in turn, used in making wage or salary determinations,

identifying training or individual development needs, and planning for

future improvement.

Online and high-tech approaches have added new dimensions to this process.

It is now possible to solicit, through e-mail or Web sites, opinions of other

people about an individual’s performance. For instance, a performance appraisal

form may be sent for input to (among others) an individual’s orga-

Using Technology to Support Succession Planning and Management Programs 285

nizational superiors, peers, subordinates, customers, company suppliers, and

company distributors.

Additionally, software resources now exist that can help supervisors write

performance appraisals. For instance, supervisors or HR specialists can invest

in software such as Performance Now! (available at the time this book goes

to press at www.gneil.com/item.html?s-5040&i-20&pos-8&sessionid-S9nac7q-

435) that supplies draft language for employee performance appraisals and

can offer legal advice about what is and is not advisable to put in writing on

appraisal forms. Free resources can also be found on the Web to support the

formulation of policies on employee performance appraisal (such as, for instance,

sample policies available at the time this book goes to press at http://

ukcc.uky.edu/_hrinfo/hrp/hrp061.txt, www.tempe.gov/hradmin/docs/Perf--Appr--

Inst.htm, and www.infosys.ilstu.edu/ohr/PAexempt.html); complete appraisal

systems for a fee (available when this book goes to press at www.performanceappraisal.

com/manual/download.htm); and sample forms (available when this

book goes to press at http://fcn.state.fl.us/dms/hrm/forms/forms.html and http://

ohioline.ag.ohio-state.edu/hrm-fact/0007.html).

Using online and high-tech methods with employee performance appraisal

can be beneficial. However, SP&M coordinators should always remember that

every useful performance appraisal system comes at a price. This means that,

while online aids can be helpful and can offer valuable support, no substitute

exists for the laborious process of establishing and measuring the unique performance

requirements of people in one organization.