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Subordinate Appraisal

Any company thats going to make it in the 1990s and beyond has got to find a way to engage the mind of every single employee. If youre not thinking all the time about making every person more valuable, you dont have a chance. Whats the alternative? Wasted minds? Uninvolved people? A labor force thats angry or bored? That doesnt make sense - John F. Welch, Jr., CEO GE, 360 Degree Feedback (Edwards & Ewen, 1996, pg. 3)

Perhaps the most uncommon type of performance appraisal, the subordinate appraisal can be an effective way of measuring performance. A general recommendation for any organization is to use more than one appraisal system and subordinate appraisal is strongly recommended because if implemented, its intended purpose will greatly enhance personnel development and maximize the utilization of the talent and skills of department personnel. If an organization is already using subordinate appraisal then it is a clear expression that it encourages openness and that feedback is a two-way process. Secondly, it is a systematic recognition of the fact that an employees subordinates do play a vital role in his appraisal. Thus, the purpose of subordinates appraisal is to get first hand assessment of how the subordinates perceive their superior in terms of: Motivation of Subordinates Guiding and Training of Subordinate Delegation of Authority Team Building Current leadership & improvement areas

The type of appraisal also provides an opportunity to the subordinates to give feedback to their superior on the kind of things they would like him to continue doing, things they would like him to stop doing, things they would like him to start doing (areas for new initiatives). The idea is to explore a new performance appraisal model that turns the appraisal process upside down and is thus known as 360degree feedback.

Sense of Importance
Feedback from multiple sources, such as superiors, peers, subordinates and others has a more powerful impact on people than from a single source, such as their immediate supervisor which is the most common type of appraisal used. Employees view performance information from multiple sources as fair, accurate, credible and motivating. It encourages them to be motivated to change their work habits to obtain the esteem of their co-workers than the respect of their supervisors so that if subordinate and peer appraisal is used; they are rated among the better ones. The supervisor-only performance appraisal is subjective and relies on the supervisors judgment. They are time-consuming and are generally disliked by those who give and receive them. They are typically given once a year assessing the employees work performance from a subjective point of view and providing management information for decisions on pay and promotions.

One indirect benefit of a subordinate appraisal is that it empowers employees and gives them a greater sense of value within the organization. Employees feel as if they have a voice and that the company values their feelings toward the effectiveness of management. In general, the ability to provide input in the direction of the company makes employees feel valued. In this case, the input relates specifically to the day-to-day functioning in their jobs under their current supervisor. Subordinate evaluations of their supervisors are often perceived as more accurate than typical manager assessments of supervisor performance. This is because employees are more involved in daily interaction with their supervisor than is the supervisor's manager. Thus, they observe more directly and more consistently how the supervisor carries out his responsibilities. A supervisor's manager spends more time delegating his responsibilities than observing him in daily performance. Though intended as a tool to aid managers, subordinate appraisals can actually reveal common needs of employees, as well. If employees consistently note of organizational leaders from which they don't get regular communication about their work, the company may need to make systemic adjustments. Instituting management by walking around principles, the organization can encourage supervisors to take a more active role in giving employees feedback. If employees note that they don't feel properly trained, the company may need to implement more thorough training systems and allocate more time to them. If used properly, collective employee feedback offers critical input on areas supervisors can improve upon to better lead the subordinates. Stress caused by management is a common reason cited by employees on exit interviews. The subordinate appraisal offers a tool for employees to convey their concerns in a less confrontational way. If all employees convey the same messages, the totality of the feedback can help the supervisor improve his performance. Comments about a negative attitude, for instance, puts pressure on the lead to assess how his attitude impacts his department's culture. Research has indicated that subordinate reviews are best at helping supervisors correct interpersonal skills.

Concerns
There are some concerns from the management and general perception related to the subordinate appraisal and following are some of the common concerns listed in the literature: Subordinates will not be truthful in the performance ratings for fear of repercussions Managers will be over-concerned with pleasing subordinates in order to achieve positive ratings Managerial authority will be questioned Managers' ratings will reflect their popularity among the workers, not their abilities Subordinates are not capable of assessing manager's performance and will, therefore, skew the ratings Subordinates' ratings will be based on the weight of their workload: The harder the work that they are assigned, the more negative ratings will be given to their supervisors Increase in reciprocal leniency- "I'll scratch your back if you will scratch mine" mentality Managers will quit, rather than adjusting to the new system

Academic research has indicated that these concerns are totally unfounded, in fact subordinate appraisals have been found to be widely accepted and more accurate than supervisory appraisals. McEvoy and Beatty (1989) compared the validity of subordinate appraisals to traditional assessment centers. These researchers found that subordinate appraisals were not only more cost effective as compared with assessment centers, but were also better predictors of managerial performance. Another research found that 56% of managers reported that subordinates were the best evaluators for certain aspects of supervisory performance. These researchers also found that managers were more supportive of subordinate appraisals when they received superior appraisals as well. This indicates a strong support for multiple source feedback systems. Having another rating source may have minimized the managers' concerns over the perceived detrimental effects of subordinate appraisals.

Validity
There are three important conditions necessary for the successful implementation of an upward appraisal system. First, managers must be supportive of the use of subordinates' appraisals; therefore, a participative style of management is beneficial. Second, the statements of the feedback survey must be representative of the managerial areas that subordinates are able to evaluate. Finally, subordinate appraisals work most effectively with another feedback source, such as peers, supervisors, or customers. The support for subordinate appraisal may be summarized below: Subordinates have a better perspective of many important aspects of managerial performance, such as leadership, and interpersonal skills Employee commitment and involvement is enhanced through active participation in the appraisal processes The accuracy of performance feedback is increased with multiple raters and multiple perspectives Early identification of potential problems, such as turnover, groups conflict and low productivity is possible through subordinate ratings

The validity of subordinate appraisal is clear from the above discussion and shows that for a better overall appraisal the subordinate appraisal should be included for effective performance measurement and management

Subordinate Appraisal in Telenor Pakistan (IVC & EES)


Telenor uses subordinate appraisal once a year and is named as the Internal Value Creation (IVC) and is recently renamed to Employee Engagement Survey. As already stated it is a once-a-year activity and is not frequent enough like the supervisor appraisal. Although during the time the IVC is around the corner, there is a lot of stress on it by the top management and its effectiveness. The subordinate appraisal in Telenor Pakistan is coined as something which asks for an honest feedback not only for the immediate line but also the top management. To ensure anonymity, a third party vendor is hired by the Telenor Group which has its own online form for the appraisal and

gives a unique username and password to every employee who takes part in the whole process. The results are then compiled and shared with Telenor Group who then shares the same after analyzing to Telenor Pakistan management. The department of Compliance in Telenor Pakistan looks after the whole process ensuring smooth layout and effective results. Other than the questionnaire, there is a comments box at the end of the process in which the employee can fill out any other relevant information which he thinks should be mentioned. The maximum portion of the IVC questionnaire is about immediate line however, there are also some questions about the top management and the employee satisfaction and trust on the top management regarding their decision making about initiatives which affected whole organization during the year. There is also a strong emphasis on active participation from the employees and all divisions are continuously pinged by the HR team to keep the IVC response rate above 90% so that the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the whole process increases and the whole logic of this type of appraisal process materializes.

Concerns
Although the IVC/EES process in Telenor Pakistan is fair compared to some of the other practices within Pakistan, however there are few concerns as well, few of them are listed below: Once a year exercise The questionnaire is not prepared with the help of involved employees and/or managers There are some issues/critical incidents which are not included or asked about in IVC/EES relating to supervisor The questions related to top management are few in numbers The comments box allows very little to write and if a mishap or misbehavior is experienced by an employee and he/she wants to report that, the allowed length of the comments box is not sufficient for the whole information Some employees still believe that IVC/EES doesnt have any significance and no value is added through it There is a strong emphasis by the top management when the IVC/EES dates arrive whereas during the whole year there is no stress on its importance There is no emphasis on recording or keeping information throughout the year regarding subordinate appraisal so when the employees fill out the questionnaire, their responses are colored because it is based on memory and only recent memory Ganging up by subordinates has been faced in some departments when they are not satisfied by their supervisor because he/she misbehaved with one of them

These concerns show that the top management is lagging the very basic point of conducting the subordinate appraisal i.e. communicating the importance of subordinate appraisal across the organization. The other major area of concern from the employees is that the questionnaire is not prepared with their input. The questions are general and not specific to the tasks of each supervisor.

Recommendations
There are things to do and there are ways to do those things. What Telenor Pakistans management needs to do as a foremost initiative is to highlight the value of the whole subordinate appraisal thing. As mentioned earlier the significance of the appraisal is only sought after when it is due, for the rest of the year there is no mentioning of the IVC. Secondly, they need to make it more frequent because they have been able to make the supervisor appraisal more frequent over the years which show that its a learning organization. They need to make the subordinate appraisal more frequent. There should be a strong emphasis on making the subordinate appraisal as meaningful as it can be so that all the investment which the company is making on it shows results and helps make it valid and reliable. There should be more questions related to behaviors and traits as well. Currently there is negligibly low number of questions related to behaviors and traits whereas most part of the whole questionnaire is about people management and very little are related to task management. One questionnaire is made for everyone hence the questions are mostly general which can be applied at almost all departments. Employee input should be taken when preparing the questionnaire because they are the ones who are actually doing the job or are actually working under a supervisor and are subordinate to one. Currently there is no input from the employees, only the HR has some input in making the questionnaire hence it needs to be corrected and optimized as well. Overall Telenor Pakistan is doing better than their competitors in conducting the subordinate appraisal and are trying to optimize it however, if the above mentioned points are also incorporated in preparing and conducting the next IVC/EES there will be greater validity and reliability as well as better results from the overarching goal and the sense of conducting this process as a whole.