Effectiveness Of Performance Appraisal Systems In The Nigerian Public Service Sector
Background of Study
The subject of performance appraisal appears a major subject of controversy in management circles. According to Kurt (2004), while business leaders see the need for appraisal systems, they are frequently disappointed in them because of various challenges that derail its objectives. One of the responsibilities of management is to ensure that an organization functions effectively and efficiently. In order to achieve these goals, managers must be able to determine and assess performance levels of both an organization and its individual employees (Kurt, 2004).
Performance appraisal has been described as a management tool designed to encourage communications in the office, improve the quality of work produced, and promote individual accountability. This is the concept underpinning the legal requirement that all agencies evaluate employee performance (Derven, 1990). Winston and Creamer (1997) define performance appraisal as an organizational system comprising deliberate processes for determining staff accomplishments, through rating, to improve staff effectiveness.
Modern organisations depend upon measurement and analysis of performance. Measurements must derive from the organisation’s strategy and provide critical data and information about key processes, outputs and results. The said data and analysis support a variety of organisational purposes, such as planning, reviewing organisationalperformance, improving processes, and comparing organisational performance with ‘best practices’ benchmarks (Averson, 1998).
Within the context of formal perfor mance appraisal requirements, rating has been used to mean evaluating employee performance against the elements and standards in an employee’s performance appraisal plan and assigning a rating of record. It is extremely important that workers have the proper knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform well in their jobs. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes are the internal competencies that workers bring with them to the job or that they must learn through training.
Irrespective of what the organization’s intentions are when conducting performance appraisal, it produces a feedback that can either be positive or negative to both the management and the employees. Managing employee performance is an integral part of the work that all managers and officials perform in any institution. It is as important as managing financial resources and program outcomes because employee performance or the lack thereof, has a profound effect on both the financial and program components of any organization (Kurt, 2004).
In many organizations appraisals are used to help determine reward outcome by identifying employees who should get the majority of available merit such as pay increases, bonuses and promotions. For the same reason, appraisal results are used to identify poorer performers who any require some form of counseling or in extreme cases demotions, decrease in pay or dismissal (Chadbourne 1994).
Again, uses for performance appraisal have included equal employment opportunity considerations, promotions, transfer and salary increases. Primarily, performance appraisal has been considered an overall system for controlling an organization. It has also been called an audit function of an organization regarding the performance of individuals, groups and entire divisions (Awosanya and Ademola, 2008).
International research reveals that appropriate appraisal schemes have the potential to improve effective management of educational institutions, the quality of education provided for students, as well as satisfying legitimate demands for accountability (Chadbourne, 1994). Consequently, in most learning environments, there have been attempts globally to identify human resource policies necessary to inculcate and reinforce the continuous learning climate by examining various manpower variables such as training development and performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is widely accredited to contribute to the superior performance outcomes of many organizations (Averson, 1998). Such organizations or institutions are frequently lauded as high performance work systems, learning or flexible organizations with mutual or high commitment models (Applebaum and Butt, 1994).
In Nigeria public sector, performance appraisal is a periodic ‘ritual’, the level of importance and seriousness attached to it however not known to the researcher at this point.