PERFORMANCE AND PAY DREAMS OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL - Mike Steeneveld The Evening post had sold out and there was nothing else left so George T‟loa bought the latest Management Magazine to read on the train. There was something about performance appraisals on the cover. George took his seat and began to read an article on the differences between judgmental appraisals and developmental appraisals, but he was worn out after a tough day at the Department and soon drifted off.. George T‟loa thought nostalgically about the time when section managers got their own car parks in the Department as he trudged up the last hill on his way to work. Mind you, the changes also helped ensure that he got a section manager‟s position: but lately the train was more crowded, the seats seemed harder and his mood less optimistic. He checked his watch,‟seven to‟ he thought and wondered whether there was time for a quick smoke. „No‟ he said to himself regretfully „I‟ll slip out at morning tea instead‟. Everyone else was equally intent on getting out of the cold and getting warmed up. He nodded a few „hellos‟ to the staff as he entered the third floor. George greeted his secretary with „Morning sandra‟.‟Morning Mister T‟loa‟ she replied. He then asked her for coffee before settling in. Glancing over his diary George was reminded that the final performance appraisal results for the staff were due to be sent to personnel today. The interviews and tests had been done last week but he had put off entering the final ratings until yesterday. His own interview was also on for today, which did nothing to improve his mood. George picked up the phone and dialed his buddy Marc, one of the other section managers. „Marc Marshall speaking‟, came down the line. „Mornin‟ Marc, George here. Got a few minutes?‟ „Sure man‟,said Marc, „Say did you see the match last night? Great game!‟ „No‟ George interjected, „I‟ve been tied up with these performance appraisals, took some home to do. In fact that‟s what I called you about, I was wondering how few “satisfactory‟s” I could get away with?‟ „You know how the system works George, hardly any of us are putting people into satisfactory anymore. We all know unless they get a “very satisfactory” or an “extremely satisfactory” they won‟t get a raise this year‟, explained Marc. „We‟re all doing it now, and if it‟s a problem then it‟s Personnel‟s problem!‟ „Okay Marc,thanks. I just wanted to make sure. I‟ll see you later then.‟ „…Later‟ echoed down the phone as george hung up. „Okay, so the staff appraisals can be taken care of, just my own to go‟ he thought thinking ahead to the afternoon. After lunch he went up to the seventh floor early. He hadn‟t been able to eat much due to nerves, that familiar heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. There had been a few disagreements lately with his boss. Samantha Trower was not the kind that held a grudge but it did not make him feel any better about session. Her secretary announced him and then directed him to enter the office, Sam gestured to the chair in front of her desk and continued with her call. Putting it down she said „Hello George, let‟s get this over with fast shall we?‟ „Sure Sam,‟ he nodded, „I wouldn‟t call it my favorite time of the year either‟. She opened the folder in front of her and passed over the results sheet. On it he read „SATISFACTORY‟, he looked up at her in disbelief and shock. „What the hell‟s going on, nobody at section level gets “satisfactory” related!‟ George said angrily. Sam sat stonily for a moment, drew breath and then said „it‟s mostly because you missed on the report objectives. Corporate‟s got a “bug” about that this year‟. „But that wasn‟t even my fault, they kept flip-flopping on what they wanted and people kept leaving‟, he retorted. „Look,never mind George, it‟s all ancient history anyway. You‟re ahead on all the targets for the last six months so I‟m sure I‟ll be able to do something to make it up next year‟. „Lot of good that‟ll do me this year‟, said George in disgust. „Any more bad news?‟ „Well it‟s not exactly good news‟, she said,‟but in any case the department hasn‟t got the funds for more than a three per cent raise even for extremely satisfactory ratings‟. Sam looked back down at.. … the clanging of bells roused George for a moment as the train passed a crossing. His eyes flickered briefly and the magazine slid to the floor, before he drowsily settled back into… George T‟loa guided his car onto the usual off-ramp and into the busy central Wellington streets. „The traffic‟s not too heavy today‟, he thought. „Looks like I‟ll make it in plenty of time.‟ And sure enough there were still some parks left when he arrived five minutes later. It did not pay to be tardy as the limited number of free parks the Department Provided were snapped up early. As he walked out of the lift and onto the floor George could hear the early morning sounds as staff greeted each other and chatted as they were getting coffee before the working day proper began. „Hi George‟, said Sandra as he entered hi office. she was checking his dairy for the day and setting out the mail. „Morning sand‟, he said as he looked over what was in store for him. Paperwork after the morning staff meeting, then the usual until lunch. Today he was meeting Lois Simich from Human Resources. They would probably take a few cafeteria sandwiches over to the park as it was an informal meeting. He was keen to find if there was any way HR‟s budget could be massaged to provide „English as a second language‟ classes for Vijay Bikoo. Vijay had adequate language skills for dealing with clients, but George was concerned about his ability to communicate fully with the others on the team. It had also come up during Vijay‟s first performance appraisal after joining the Department. Vijay had felt that his English was a possible impediment to his progress and marked it down as a key concern on his self- appraisal. „Which reminds me, ‟George wondered out loud, „is that meeting with Marc Marshall still on for there?‟. „No it‟s changed, 2 p.m. seventh floor and I‟ve got you down for one hour‟ said Sandra. „Okay‟ said George. He had been looking forward to this meeting. It had now been two weeks since his own performance appraisal session and he was due for some feedback. „By the way, have you heard anything more about McKeever‟s leaving date?‟ „No‟ said Sandra, „not even her secretary knows if it‟s certain and when it would happen. „ there were rumors about a position opening up at Corporate. That meant possible promotion for him in due course if one of the regional people got McKeever‟s job. Before he knew it George was on his way to the seventh floor. Lunch had been productive, Lois thought she could swing it, but he knew he would owe her. „Afternoon George‟ Said Marc Marshall as he entered reception. „Two already?‟ he said as he glanced at his watch nd gestured for george to follow him into the conference room. Marc indicated that George should take a seat on the couch, grabbed a file and then joined him on it. „So how‟s Sam treating you lately?‟ said Marc referring to one of the other section managers George worked with. „To tell you the truth I haven‟t seen much of her this week. I understand there‟s talk of policy changes from the politicians so both Corporate and Regional are gearing up for negotiations‟, he said, raising a quizzical eyebrow. „That‟s the gist of it from what I hear too, but it hasn‟t affected me much so I can‟t give you details‟, replied Marc. „But I have some details that should interest you more‟, he said raising the file and opening it before them. „It appears that you‟re not rating yourself all that highly on leadership variables, I‟m a little surprised at that.‟ „I guess it comes from some of the problems I‟ve had with older staff‟, said George. „You know how hard it can be to motivate some of the old public service types, and there are still one or two who resent me for leapfrogging them.‟ „Still George..from what I‟ve seen and your section‟s results I doubt the Department can Justify any additional training unless HR puts on a block course and there‟s nothing scheduled.‟ „However, there is a review of the Quality Program coming up and this problem may fit in there‟, offered Marc. ….as the train slowed into the station the grind of brakes on metal woke George with a start. For a moment he wondered which of his dreams was the reality. But then he remembered … QUESTIONS 1. Analyze the key differences between performance appraisal in each dream. 2. What performance appraisal issues do the dreams highlight? 3. How do the sources of conflict in appraisals affect the accuracy of the appraisal? 4. How can these conflicts be minimized or resolved? 5. How does a link to remuneration affect the operation of performance appraisals? 6. Discuss the interaction of Organizational culture and performance appraisal.
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