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Performance appraisal summary

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I. Contents of getting performance appraisal summary

There are just 31 working days until the national contract for the e-KSF comes to an end on the
31stMarch 2012. For organisations not entering into local contracts with Radcliffe Solutions for
the ongoing use of the e-KSF, we need to stop storing and processing organisations data before
that date in order for us to fulfil our supplier responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.
Over the last couple of months we have been writing about a number of different options that we
think NHS organisations should consider for recording performance appraisal in light of the
national contract coming to an end. We have also been having detailed discussions with over 200
NHS organisations on what their plans are moving forwards. We would like to take this
opportunity to summarise these discussions and provide you with links to all of the articles in our
series in case you have missed any.
If you would like us to explain in more detail how these options may fit your organisation, or
help you with the design and implementation of new systems, please do contact us for an
informal, no-obligation discussion.
The Minimalist Approach
Were still seeing a minimalist approach to recording performance appraisal and development
review outcomes at the moment, with organisations looking to simplify their whole appraisal
process and make it easier for managers and staff to have constructive discussions regarding
performance and capture only core information centrally for critical reporting needs.

For organisations looking at adopting a minimalist approach to performance appraisal we would

encourage you to look at what information managers and staff need prior to an appraisal and
what they need to produce as a result of an appraisal. Of the information they need to produce as
a result of their appraisal, how much needs to be formally written down and how much needs to
be recorded in a centralised system?
We would also encourage organisations to consider how their performance appraisal processes fit
within their wider workforce development strategies. Since one of the outputs of a good
appraisal discussion is a Personal Development Plan how does your appraisal process link with
your learning and development provision?
We believe the key aspect of adopting a minimalist approach is that the process organisations
adopt is effective to start with, before looking at which system to deploy.
Introducing a simple KSF Post Outline database
For organisations who may not want the full functionality that the e-KSF can offer but want to be
able to reference their KSF Post Outlines (and continue to evolve these over time) one of our
partners has developed a robust database using Microsoft AccessTM to enable you to easily
manage ALL elements of your existing KSF Post Outlines centrally within your organisation, in
the absence of the e-KSF. You will be able to import all Post Outline data that has been exported
via the e-KSF, so none of your data will be lost if you decide not to use the e-KSF in the future.
If you would like more information on this solution please click here to access the product fact
sheet. Or alternatively our Regional Account Management team are familiar with this cost
effective solution and can provide you with an online demonstration or show you the full extent
of the functionality at a meeting.
A Focus on ESR and Oracle
The benefits of ESR as a performance appraisal system are well known, it is strongly supported
by the Department of Health, part of an integrated suite of HR tools, and is licence free to
organisations. However, we think that the main considerations around ESR are less
technical/functionality focused, and more to do with local and national strategy.
Since the publication of our first article on ESR, the pilot of the Performance Management Plan
(PMP) functionality being developed for ESR has now been completed and findings are being
reviewed by the Department of Health.
Our overall impression of the PMP functionality is that it is feature-rich, but complex; the
potential flexibility and configurability offered by the functionality needs to be balanced against

the administrative effort required to create and manage the Plans and Templates. Our other
findings are:

The system is capable of simultaneously managing multiple appraisal processes and

approaches (using a combination of Objective and Appraisal Templates within separate
Performance Management Plans, targeted at different staff populations), but our view is
that the systems current usability/navigation issues make these tasks quite complicated.
Some advanced Talent Management practice is possible (e.g. suitability matching by
role/competency); but this requires significant amounts of PMP data to be present in the
system before it becomes practically useful.
The functionality seems to have been designed with a highly structured, performancerelated pay, corporate context in mind, and therefore does not readily fit with the
traditional public sector model of developmental review and CPD recording; however, a
growing emphasis on performance management and workforce efficiency/productivity
could make elements of this approach increasingly relevant to NHS staff groups.
The User Guides are fairly comprehensive, but the range of possible approaches and
applications of the functionality make careful project/outcome planning and robust
rollout methodology a necessity.

If organisations require any detailed advice on the future of ESR we recommend you discuss this
with the national ESR team themselves.
A Focus on the Totara Open Source Solution
Totara is a custom distribution of Moodle, which adds corporate functionality including
department structures, positions/work structures, competency management, objective setting and
powerful reporting. This makes it a viable enterprise wide solution for NHS organisations. Totara
is generally used to enhance learning processes, but also works well as a performance
management system.
Since writing our article on the use of the Totara Open Source solution for recording
performance appraisal we have become Silver Partners of Totara. This means that we are now
even better able to run effective end-to-end deployments within organisations of this leading
learning platform. In addition our Partnership status gives us more influence (on behalf of our
clients) on the Totara development roadmap.
We like Totara because it provides all the benefits of an enterprise-wide, integrated learning and
performance system but at a low cost compared with commercial tools. Its also highly
customisable and flexible, which means that it can be implemented to support your existing bestpractice processes and forms. We think that Totara will have an increasing importance in this

market the Managing Director of Totara, Richard Wyles, has deep experience of learning
systems in healthcare (in New Zealand) and is very focused on continuing to provide systems
that improve healthcare effectiveness
A Focus on Microsoft SharePoint and InfoPath
The NHS still has free licences to use a couple of very powerful Microsoft tools SharePoint
(which can be used to automate workflows and store and share wide ranges of information) and
InfoPath (which automates data collection through customised electronic forms, which can be
delivered to employee desktops).
We are supporting a number of NHS organisations to use SharePoint to support appraisal
processes. Everyone weve spoken to has been very impressed by its capability and flexibility.
These Microsoft tools can be used to quickly and cost effectively gather and report on appraisal
and development information, through the creation of forms that can be used by specific
departments or across an entire organisation. More sophisticated forms can also utlise workflow
If you are looking to automate data collection, we could help you to design forms in Microsoft
InfoPath and workflows in SharePoint and deploy this locally. This could involve the following:

A single form with configured data fields, accessible on your intranet through SharePoint
and/or directly from Microsoft Outlook, with branding and instructions that match your
appraisal process.
Multiple forms, with different instructions and information for different staff groups, with
workflow to allow manager sign-offs.
Staff can complete the appraisal form and also record training needs, without having to
enter another username/password.
Data is accessible for both managers and staff to comment and sign off.
Once appraisals are completed they are submitted and stored for future reference.
Central HR teams can fulfill reporting needs by running key reports.

A Focus on Mahara for Recording Performance Appraisal

We identified a need within NHS organisations for a portfolio-based approach to learning and
development. Historically, portfolios may have brought to mind the evidence mountain of
copied paperwork and written notes. Mahara is a versatile, slick and online system which gives
you the ability to design your own appraisal processes and workflows within an extremely
configurable, secure, Open Source framework.

We can help you to design pages based on a set of user-friendly, online templates (journals, a
document library, plans, and tags), which individuals use to record, upload and classify evidence.
They can then provide appropriate access to Managers, Appraisers, Peers, Mentors, Responsible
Officers for validation etc. Employees control the specific information they enter into Mahara
and how this is shared, and organisations control who can access the system and what types of
information employees store. For example, an employee could create an e-portfolio, then share
part of it with their manager as an input to ongoing appraisal; request feedback from their
mentor; give access to their professional body for their CPD record for registration / revalidation,
and / or share a blog with professionals in the same community of interest.
We think that Mahara can provide a good organisation-wide solution for the light touch recording
of performance appraisal, along with meeting a range of emerging Medical and non-Medical
CPD and revalidation purposes, to record, organise and securely share CPD and competency
evidence information. In addition, due to the low cost nature of this system, we also think that it
could provide an ideal solution for organisations looking for a solution for particular staff groups
who are more engaged with appraisal and recording evidence for their CPD portfolios and need
to have something available for use within short timescales.

III. Performance appraisal methods

1. Essay Method
In this method the rater writes down the employee
description in detail within a number of broad categories
like, overall impression of performance, promoteability
of employee, existing capabilities and qualifications of
performing jobs, strengths and weaknesses and training
needs of the employee. Advantage It is extremely
useful in filing information gaps about the employees
that often occur in a better-structured checklist.
Disadvantages It its highly dependent upon the writing
skills of rater and most of them are not good writers.
They may get confused success depends on the memory
power of raters.

2. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales

statements of effective and ineffective behaviors

determine the points. They are said to be
behaviorally anchored. The rater is supposed to
say, which behavior describes the employee
performance. Advantages helps overcome rating
errors. Disadvantages Suffers from distortions
inherent in most rating techniques.

3. Rating Scale
Rating scales consists of several numerical scales
representing job related performance criterions such as
dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc.
Each scales ranges from excellent to poor. The total
numerical scores are computed and final conclusions are
derived. Advantages Adaptability, easy to use, low cost,
every type of job can be evaluated, large number of
employees covered, no formal training required.
Disadvantages Raters biases

4. Checklist method
Under this method, checklist of statements of traits of
employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is
prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or
checking and HR department does the actual evaluation.
Advantages economy, ease of administration, limited
training required, standardization. Disadvantages Raters
biases, use of improper weighs by HR, does not allow
rater to give relative ratings

5.Ranking Method
The ranking system requires the rater to rank his
subordinates on overall performance. This consists in
simply putting a man in a rank order. Under this method,
the ranking of an employee in a work group is done
against that of another employee. The relative position of
each employee is tested in terms of his numerical rank. It
may also be done by ranking a person on his job
performance against another member of the competitive
Advantages of Ranking Method
Employees are ranked according to their
performance levels.
It is easier to rank the best and the worst
Limitations of Ranking Method
The whole man is compared with another
whole man in this method. In practice, it is very difficult
to compare individuals possessing various individual
This method speaks only of the position where an
employee stands in his group. It does not test anything
about how much better or how much worse an employee
is when compared to another employee.
When a large number of employees are working,
ranking of individuals become a difficult issue.
There is no systematic procedure for ranking
individuals in the organization. The ranking system does
not eliminate the possibility of snap judgements.

6. Critical Incidents Method

The approach is focused on certain critical behaviors of

employee that makes all the difference in the
performance. Supervisors as and when they occur record
such incidents. Advantages Evaluations are based on
actual job behaviors, ratings are supported by
descriptions, feedback is easy, reduces recency biases,
chances of subordinate improvement are high.
Disadvantages Negative incidents can be prioritized,
forgetting incidents, overly close supervision; feedback
may be too much and may appear to be punishment.

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