Evaluation of professional performance from the perspective of human resources management

Evaluation of professional performance from the perspective of human resources management

Evaluation of professional performance from the perspective of human resources management

Professor Doctor Hohn Mihai, psychologist Alex Armand Hohn, West University of Timisoara

April 14, 2020

A first question that arises from the point of view of the title is: to whom is the evaluation, the appreciation of the staff? Here are some opinions and answers to the proposed question:

First of all, we are constantly asked to make assessments, evaluations, that is to compare, to choose, etc. Performance appraisal is a process by which it is decided how well a work activity is performed, in general, by the employees of a company or of a certain job. Basically, the action itself is known as employee evaluation. The information derived from these assessments serves to: objective fixation of employees, adequate distribution by positions and to the organization of professional training and improvement. It also serves the implementation of a pay system according to merit and not least, to personnel decisions: promotions, rewards, penalties, etc.

When assessments are conducted on a small scale the problem is relatively easy to solve. Otherwise, we are dealing with a company that has hundreds, or even thousands, of employees grouped in different sections, workshops, professional teams, ages, qualifications. To evaluate the human potential of a collective of work, means, first of all, to know by scientific means each individual, to objectively appreciate their competence. The specialized literature reports the situation of the objective evaluations of the personnel, 71% of the 955 companies investigated use one form or another of the employees' appreciation. It follows that, for the management of industrial companies, the objective appreciation of the employees will directly affect the increase of the efficiency of the work activity, as well as on the optimization of some administrative decisions, of personnel.
From the point of view of the employees, the knowledge of the professional performances means a real understanding of the way in which they fulfill their tasks of work, what efficiency they have, what they expect from them the companies in which they activate. At the same time, knowing the professional value, gives the evaluated person confidence in his own strengths, creates the possibility of self-analysis in front of his peers, it generates a positive attitude towards work.

It should not be forgotten that the impact of performance appraisal on those who are subject to assessment can be both positive and negative.
Finally, we can say simple: the assessment of professional performance serves both the company and each employee in order to increase the productivity of work, the quality of production and the improvement of their professional qualities.
Logically, after finding out the answer to the question about which the evaluation serves, the evaluation of the performance appears another question: how can we solve this evaluation?

In the psychology of work and organization, a wide variety of assessment systems is used. It is important to mention that, the choice of the assessment system differs from activity to activity, but also according to the different stages during the evolution of the professional experience. For example, an economist in a company is quite different from a research economist.
Viewed as a whole, the action of appreciation, evaluation of the personnel involves the following aspects:

  •   Measurements related to production (quantity, quality of food);
  • Personal data (experience, absenteeism, family, etc.);
  • General assessments (evaluation of superiors, colleagues and self-assessment).

At the same time, it should be mentioned that there is also a classification of methods of performance appraisal. The following classification system was adopted in our country:

  • Evaluation scales: these are divided into, graphical scales, rating assignments, standardized scale, "human to human" evaluation scale;
  • People comparison systems: rank order based on merit, pairwise comparison, forced distribution, comparison between groups
  • Behavioral lists and scales: behavioral lists, forced choice lists, expectations assessment;
  • Critical incident technique;
  • Other methods of performance appraisal: binary scoring, complementary observations, personality assessment   

 We emphasize that each method is based on different evaluation procedures and is indicated for a certain type of activity (individual, collective, repetitive, diversified work, etc.). Each method has advantages, but also shortcomings, then, each one is suitable for achieving a certain objective (salary, professional development, job placement, etc.).
Of course another question arises: are these methods perfect?

Research carried out in this direction has highlighted that, the evaluation techniques are subject to deficiencies and imperfections that come from the evaluator, but also from the instrument used. The most commonly encountered evaluation errors can be classified into three categories:

  • The halo effect, that is, the persistence of an impression in one context and on others, that is, the tendency to appreciate globally the qualities of a person;
  • Higher-lower ratings, ie the error of indulgence-severity. It is about increasing the subjectivity of the evaluator who will unjustifiably note one subject with higher ratings, and another with lower ratings;
  • Fear of not discriminating, effect known in the literature as the error of the central tendency. The evaluator consciously avoids the extreme values of the evaluation scale, that is, he mainly assigns average ratings.

In order to counteract the errors presented above, the psychology of work and organization has developed methods to increase the objectivity and to reduce the shortcomings of these tools for evaluation, appreciation of professional performances. These methods consist of statistical analyzes of the collected data (use of standard quotas "t" or "z", adjustment of average differences, etc.).

As a conclusion we can point out that, evaluating or evaluating the employees' performances is a necessary activity, it is objective and it serves the employer, as well as the employee. The evaluation is done by specific methods with the help of evaluation scales specific to the different types and modes of work. Like any human activity and performance evaluation (performed by the evaluator) is subject to the influence of subjectivism, but also of the method itself. The evaluation errors cannot be denied or neglected, but they can be kept under control by different methods (training of evaluators, statistical analysis, transforming qualitative data into quantitative data, etc.).