Performance Appraisals and Positive Psychology, Essay Example

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INTRODUCTION

Performance Management may be defined as  a process that builds a work environment setting that enables people to carry out work functions to the best of their abilities.  (Heathfield, S.M. 2011)   A Performance appraisal is defined as being  a process where you obtain and analyze information about  the relative worth of an employee.  The actual focus of the employment appraisal  should be based  upon measuring the effectiveness of that employee. The link is such that performance management is about creating the environment for the employee to succeed and the appraisal measures how well they succeeded in that environment.

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS

I have received numerous annual performance appraisals in a work setting.  These annual performances were measured against set goals and objectives for the appraisal period.  The concept was to measure progress and identify any areas of weakness or shortcomings.  In the main these exercises were productive and constructive.  The main issue is that they should not be an annual event but offered more frequently i.e. quarterly, this would facilitate corrective or remedial action to be followed up during the lifecycle of the appraisal period.  Equally the review would benefit from more of a 360 degree feedback perspective as opposed to the single dimension of employee vs. boss.  This would create a far more accurate representation of performance and in addition expand the Managers horizons.

Appraisals should also be established against training needs analysis in order to provide requisite additional training for where skills need to be improved upon e.g. team building, leadership etc.

To measure employee motivation you would need to examine such elements as opportunities for promotion, quality of work, levels of responsibility, challenges, sense of personal achievement and growth in the job. Hygiene factors would include: company policies, wages, quality of supervision, inter personal relations, environmental setting, working conditions and feeling of job security.  The approach would be based upon interviewing the team and determining whether they had positive or negative attitudes towards work and an explanation of the reasons thereof.  The Analysis can then be divided into the Motivation and Hygiene classifications. The model depicted above illustrates the staged process. (Pulakos, E.D. 2009).

The field of Positive Psychology can briefly be said to include the following areas: (i) It is a science of well-being and that of optimal functioning in human beings (ii) A study of those strengths and weaknesses that the human embraces in the context of normal life and survival (iii) The process that identifies the conditions and behavioural characteristics of how people, groups and institutions optimally flourish and (iv) The science that underpins or depicts what makes life worth living. (Davies, W. 2011). The following subject headings are generally found under the description of Positive Psychology:  (a) Happiness or well-being, (b) Optimism, (c) Emotional Intelligence (d) Intrinsic motivation.

Measuring performance in today’s modern environment has to consider the changing profile and environment of the organization.  As such employees need a flexible environment in order to adapt to change. The phrase “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed” was coined by Peter Senge in his 1993 book entitled The Fifth Discipline. (Senge, P. 2006).  One of his propositions is that managers (and by inference, project managers) should focus their efforts to initiate change by addressing people’s resistance to change.  In a project environment, he suggests running a pilot project (i.e.: start small), keep change goals realistic (especially with regard to scheduling and resources), remain heavily involved beyond the initiation and planning phases, make a point of recognizing and rewarding people who are embracing the change, and be honest and open about the progress of the project.

 

References

Davies, W. (2011). Positive Psaychology. Retrieved 1 1, 2012, from Generally Speaking: http://generallythinking.com/what-is-positive-psychology/

Heathfield, S. M. (2011, 11 12). 360 Degree Feedback: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Retrieved from About.com: http://humanresources.about.com/od/360feedback/a/360feedback.htm

Pulakos, E. D. (2009). Performance Management: A New Approach for Driving Business Results (1 ed.). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Senge, P. (2006). The Fifth Discipline (2nd ed.). London: Doubleday.

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