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I setup Synergy Management Associates ( in 1993 as a center for promoting business excellence through its training and consulting services We have promoted innovative managment ideas, managing senior level projects and for delivering creative client solutions across business segments. We has shown time-tested capacity to build "Peak Performance Organisations" . by Designing Business Excellence Models, Audit and Design HRD Systems, Implement Performance Management Systems. I have been called “disruptive thought leader in the boardroom ” or “contra rebel” for my tangential thinking and ideas to improvise business vision and policy as a corporate advisor; I have helped young managers business scions and young entrepreneurs (who wish to become future CEOs) through my META+COACH MODEL. I have been called “performance turnaround specialist” by the sales managers for the quantum improvement Direct Marketing Campaigns and Steping -up Salesforce Effectiveness, I found time to be a visiting professor and seminar leader at India's premier management institutes and Chamber of and a keynote speaker for numerous conferences & seminars.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Total Performance Management System refers to the system of managing both behaviors and results (not rewards as it is sadly mistaken)


We have all been through it:This year 2019 the annual appraisal is going to be no different...  it is highly demanded by HR dept & seemingly backed by the CEO but cynically scorned by staff.

 It a familiar story year after year …the reporting  boss is vague about what the appraisee have been doing for the past 12 months but still says the appraisee is above average. A few trivial complaints are mentioned to damp the appraiser hopes of any increment or bonus. The appraisee’s heroic efforts to keep the show on the road are completely ignored. His part of the story is never heard. He vows to find another job…. Not this year end  but as soon as the job market improves…. The meeting is ended as quickly as decently possible and soon forgotten.

Until next year- recheck your objectives…

Yet performance appraisal is taken very seriously in some leading companies - and not just because the salary review depends on it. Many of India’s best employers describe it as the key to superior corporate performance. From the organization's viewpoint, one of the most important reasons for having a system of performance appraisal is to establish and uphold the principle of accountability, transparency of management processes of rewards & penalty, involve people in the goals setting process, create goal congruence between the individual and organization, align the individual /departmental goals to business strategy , make the reporting manager not just a evaluator of performance but a catalyst  to the individual’s performance . And last but not the least, continually aim to perfect the performance management system itself.

Recent insights into performance management systems:

  1. Total Performance Management System refers to the system of managing both behaviors and results…the two critical elements of performance. Most forget the evaluation or appraisal system to be the whole of Paste main aim of the evaluation system is to identify the performance gap (if any). This gap is the shortfall that occurs when performance does not meet the standard set by the organization as acceptable. Effective appraisal systems contains four basic systems operating in conjunction:
¨     a goal setting system
¨     an evaluation system
¨      a feedback system.
¨     a development system

  1. It is important that the appraiser (usually the employee's supervisor) be well-informed and credible. Appraisers should feel comfortable with the techniques of appraisal, and should be knowledgeable about the employee's job and performance. When these conditions exist, employees are more likely to view the appraisal process as accurate and fair. They also express more        acceptances of the appraiser's feedback and a greater willingness to change.

  1. To facilitate greater accuracy & credibility, more and more companies, are using multilayer appraisals of manager performance with an objective to using useful feedback from multiple raters to guide the personal development of ratees.The basic premise is that multi-rater appraisals can be used to enhance the ratees' self-awareness, leading to improved leadership and management skills through knowledge of strengths, weaknesses, and others' expectations.

  1. The main aim of the feedback system is to inform the employee about the quality of his or her performance. However, the information flow should not be exclusively one way. The appraisers also are duty bound to listen & receive feedback from the employee about job problems, resources needed, expectations of the staff member.

  1. One the leading causes of organizational failure is "non-alignment of responsibility and accountability." Non-alignment occurs where employees are given responsibilities and duties, but are not held accountable for the way in which those responsibilities and duties are performed. What typically happens is that several individuals or work units appear to have overlapping roles. The overlap allows - indeed actively encourages - each individual or business unit to "pass the buck" to the others. Ultimately, in the severely non-aligned system, no one is accountable for anything. In this event, the principle of accountability breaks down completely. Like an engine that is poorly made or badly tuned, the non-aligned organization may run but it will be sluggish, costly and unreliable.
  1. Measurement is hard enough when the appraisee know how to do it. Having a clear path allows the appraisee to concentrate on creating measures instead of wondering what to do next. Common and yet avoidable errors in the evaluation are:
¨     Subjectivity of performance. It is always difficult to measure work performance. This is due to the fact that most work performance does not produce measurable results at the end of the day.
¨     The halo effect. This is when someone is appraised highly, because of one outstanding characteristic. For example, when someone is a very good speaker, this outstanding skill or ability will serve to cloud the judgment of the appraiser and there will be a tendency to grade this individual highly, irrespective of whether he performs or not.
¨     Central tendency. Experience has shown that most appraisers tend to avoid the high and low extremes on a rating scale. They tend to take the easier and 'safer' middle rating.
¨     Appraising the wrong things. Appraisers sometimes appraise behaviours rather than actual work performance. For example, behaviours like looking busy and being pleasant may tend to cloud an appraiser's perception and hence count more than the actual performance.
¨     Similar characteristics. Research has shown that there is a tendency for an appraisal to be more favourable if the individual is perceived as being similar to the appraiser in relation to gender, personality, race, appearance etc.
¨     Politics. There is always the possibility that politics may influence the conduct of appraisals, as individuals maneuver to try to get the rewards that come with good appraisals.
¨     Ability to evaluate. The other main problem is that people vary considerably in their ability to evaluate accurately the behaviour of others. Due to lack of training in how to observe subordinate behaviour, or lack of ability to do so, the immediate supervisor may not have the necessary skills to act as an effective appraiser, hence affecting the quality of the appraisal.
¨     Different standards. Different appraisers may apply different standards of judgment in making their assessments. As well as this individual variation, the position of the appraiser, the sex, the position of the appraisee may also affect the ratings.

  1. Multiple ways to align or link. Linkage or alignment with organizational goals is more and more important in today's business environment. This process provides two ways to provide that "line of sight.”. This process is not rocket science. It can be taught and learned by any workforce with a high school education.

  1. Traditional appraisal systems often fail because they have a strong top-down bias, concentrating, say, on how far the individual has achieved specified goals in the past year.  Feedback from our client companies ( has shown that few employees understand the strategy on which the goals are supposedly based. An individual may be made to feel a scapegoat for organizational failings and even the manager feels uncomfortable.

  1. In the modern business, teamwork is everything and change is constant. Modern appraisal systems emphasize future team performance and the way individuals can develop their skills and improve their contribution to the team. Appraisals can eliminate what they call the "C players" and relieve a company of the hidden costs of tolerating under performance.

  1. Today HR managers report, that  appraisees seem to have greater acceptance of the appraisal process, and feel more satisfied with it, when the process is directly linked to rewards. There is also a school of thought which argues that the evaluation of employees for reward purposes, and frank communication with them about their performance, are part of the basic responsibilities of management. The practice of not discussing reward issues while appraising performance is, say critics, based on inconsistent and muddled ideas of motivation. Such findings are a serious challenge to those who feel that appraisal results and reward outcomes must be strictly isolated from each other.

  1. Why does performance appraisal have to be a formal annual process – shouldn’t managers do this every day as part of managing their teams. Are managers always skilled to hold performance related conversations with their teams???

  1. The basic problem with appraisals is that the system becomes loaded with too many functions, with the result that none is done particularly well. For individuals, money is probably at the top of their minds, followed by performance and working relationships. Longer term, career development and the necessary competences and skills are critical for the young professionals. For some others mentoring - from someone whom the individual respects - is usually valued higher.

  1. A novel “competency-based” approach to performance appraisal is based on teaching all employees to identify, deploy, and develop their strengths. Then aligning all performance appraisal and review systems around employee strengths. And lastly designing each role to create world-class performers in the role. This is called performance planning & development the higher order of the performance management system

  1. What role do HR and Line/Functional managers play in the performance appraisal process? Are line managers given a thorough grounding of the systems as a whole…with additional training in counseling & performance feedback skills? Or does HR see itself as a high & mighty arbitrator and lord of the performance appraisal system. There is need for complete clarity & trust between line managers and HR dept

Organizations need the system to ensure productive performances, and yet at the same time, whatever system implemented is fraught with pitfalls as it deals with the human factor. In a sense, performance appraisals are a necessary evil and a double-edged tool; organizations and managers will have to learn to live with this and work with this unimpeachable fact!

Best of Luck
Dr Wilfred Monteiro

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