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Critique of Performance Appraisal

Elaine Dean

Jacksonville University

September 16, 2017


Critique of Performance Appraisal


A performance appraisal is a formal process whereby an employee performance at work

is assessed, typically by a supervisor. The assessment is done along a given set of dimensions, a

score is then assigned and the employee made aware of his or her formal rating (Devisi &

Murphy, 2017). Whether the performance appraisal is done on a periodic basis or annually it is a

key tool that allows organizations to determine the alignment of performance with the

expectation of the position. Performance appraisals should be designed to set standards based on

job analysis. It should communicate job standards, compare performance to standards, and

measure performance (Rajut, 2015). A performance appraisal should be structured in a way that

it provides a systematic opportunity to discuss progress and performance with employees and

allow the organization to perform checks and balances of its processes and policies. That being

said, a performance appraisal should be an ongoing process continually communicating strategy,

measuring progress, and adapting to changing conditions. The performance appraisal should be

precise and well documented as it not only become a permanent part of the employee record but

also a variety of decisions concerning the employee is based on the ratings from a performance

appraisal (Fallon & McConnell, 2014). These decisions include salary and wages, coaching and

counseling, and in some event a job change or dismissal.

Critique of Performance Appraisal for an ARNP

Type of Performance Appraisal

The performance appraisal form utilized by the organization is titled “Proficiency

Report”. The performance appraisal type used to evaluate the employee who functions as an

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) in the nephrology specialty clinic is the essay

or free-form method. The technique is combined with a graphic rating scale. There is a legend

that explains each category of the rating system. However, the word “reasonable” is used in the

rating criteria dialogue-giving rise to possible perception issues and or judgmental errors. The

performance appraisal has four performance standards namely practice, professionalism,

collaboration, and scientific inquiry each defined to communicate the expectation of each

standard. The writing on this performance appraisal was well done it did not include any

superficial information or any flowery language. The narrative in each section reflected the job

knowledge and potential of the employee, the employee understanding of the organization’s

policies, protocols, procedures, and objectives, the relationship with co-workers, the employee

general planning and organizational abilities, and the attitude and perception of the employee in

general. Each section of the essay described facts and often includes examples and evidence to

support the information. The rater’s essay also provided a good deal of information about the

employee and effectively supported the graphic scale rating by substantiating an explanation for

the rating in the narrative. The supervisor prepared the essay in a way that it properly assessed

the actual performance of the employee.

Source and Type of Performance Standards and Measures

A performance standard is a set of performance thresholds, requirements or expectations.

Performance standards provide the employee with specific performance expectations for each

duty, it tells the employee what it is to be done. They are observable behaviors and actions that

explain how the job is to be done, plus the result results that are expected for a satisfactory job

performance. Performance standards are derived from sources such as detailed work-study and

method analysis (Fallon & McConnell, 2014). According to Fallon and McConnell (2014)

performance standards address four key dimensions namely productivity, quality, timeliness, and

cost. Quality should address how well the work is performed and how effective the outcome is. It

should also relate to accuracy. Productivity should address how much work is produced.

Timeliness should address how quickly or by what date is the work is required to be done, and

cost should address dollar savings. This performance appraisal did not indicate the source of the

performance appraisal but most importantly it did not completely address quantifiable indicators

used to address how well an individual is performing. The quality dimension was substantive but

there was no supporting data or information for timeliness, productivity, and cost. Considering

these are attainable, realistic, and understandable measures used to define successful

performance this performance appraisal lacked some very fundamental concepts. A

comprehensive performance appraisal typically involves more than performance measures that is

it is also a combination of certain behaviors. Therefore, a performance appraisal should include

credible specific standards that will allow the employee to know in no uncertain terms how well

they are doing.

Work Objective/Developmental Plans.

All effective performance appraisals are tied to specific measurable and attainable

objectives. This involves a collaborative goal-setting process between employee and supervisor.

Employee and manager can foster a unique relationship to work together to develop personal

objectives (Fallon & McConnell, 2014). Employee developmental plans facilitate employees’

personal and professional growth through training and opportunities to take on new

responsibilities. The performance appraisal process is an ideal setting in which to set objectives

for achievement in employee developmental initiatives. The performance appraisal used by this

organization did not include a section involving mutually set objectives between the employee

and the supervisor. There was no measurement for meeting current or future objectives

indicating whether an objective or developmental plan was met or not met. The essay narrative

did not indicate specific objectives or specify the required executed action needed to achieve

those objectives. While there were several events within the body of the essay that could be seen

as an objective, it was totally a perception on the part of the reader. Additionally, the instructions

in the section titled “Narrative Summary” implied it was designed to outline development plans

and future objectives. However, it was left blank. In most organizations, new objectives are

developed as an ongoing process that links individual performance to the organization’s strategic

goals and objectives, therefore, it is important to identify individual performance in meeting

these objectives in terms of desired results and successful outcome rather than activities and

action as was present in this performance appraisal. According to Fallon and McConnell (2014),

an objective should include a description of what is to be achieved, how it will be accomplished

and a date for completion (Fallon, McConnell, 2014). In turn, this would provide clear

expectation for a credible performance appraisal. This performance appraisal did not meet the


Interview/Self-Appraisal/Employee Feedback.

The appraisal interview offers the chance for both the employee and the supervisor to

access the employee’s current performance and work opportunities for further personal

development. In most organization communication occur daily between manager and employee

that is vital for factual corporation. However, it cannot be a substitute for the purpose of an

appraisal interview. An employee interview is usually conducted to discuss a written review.

This facilitates the discussion of key areas of improvement and how the employee can grow

through feedback mechanism. The main purpose of feedback is to help the employee understand

where they stand in relation to expected and or productive job behavior. Managers who engage

in continuous feedback with employees not only do those employees perform better they are also

more engaged (DVA, 2017). The performance appraisal of this ARNP had no employee

feedback section. This may have created a missed opportunity for suggestion for improvement.

The ARNP also received a high satisfactory rating on the graphic rating scale. This score on the

rating scale together with the absence of valuable feedback might in the future be an obstacle to

substantive development planning as the grade might suggest that the ARNP is already a superior

worker. Throughout the essay, the supervisor did not acknowledge any employee input.

However, since the employee signed the performance appraisal it indicated that was some sort of

interview or formal contact between the employee and the supervisor. As to whether that process

was a true appraisal interview or if it was effective and efficient is purely speculative. In some

organization, employees complete a self-appraisal prior to the actual performance review. This

affords the employee the opportunity to provide self-rating, include successes, and highlight

accomplishments. However, self-appraisal should not be the sole source of a performance

appraisal as it not the best way to comprehensively evaluate performance. According to Gallo

(2013) employees are usually not the best judges of their own performance (Gallo, 2013).

Additionally, if the employee lacks adequate knowledge of performance standards or benchmark

to be achieved they cannot self-assess whether or not they achieve the expectation. According to

Sargeant (2012) for self-appraisal to be accurate two conditions must exist there must be clear

understanding of a performance standard and criteria for measuring them and the employee must

be able to use the criteria to make a judgment on personal performance (Sargeant, 2012). This

essay performance appraisal of this ARNP did not have the characteristics of a self-appraisal and

it lacks the elements of the employee point of view. However, this could just be a manager

replacing every “I” and “my” with the employee name.



There are many different types of performance appraisal methods an organization can

adopt. There are the older methods including the behavior checklist, the essay method, and the

grading method. But there are also the newer more modern methods such as the 360-degree

feedback, the behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) and the management by objectives

(MBO) method. A performance appraisal should be a process that evaluates how well employees

perform their jobs compared to a set of standards. Employee appraisal should be in line with the

overall strategic objectives of the organization, therefore, these objectives must be clearly

translated to each employee. The essay method used in this performance appraisal allowed the

appraiser to concentrate on describing specific strengths of this employee. Because this method

is less structural and confining it allowed the supervisor to examine and explore any relevant

issues or attributes of performance. The appraiser placed varying degree of emphasis on

attributes he or she deemed appropriate utilizing the methods open-endedness and flexibility.

This flexibility allowed the appraiser to explore performance areas that would otherwise be

neatly dissected and scaled. However, the method is highly subjective and in consequence, it is

difficult to fully grasp a structured conclusion about the organization’s performance requirement

for the ARNP.



Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA). (2017). Feedback is critical to improving performance.

Retrieved from

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Gallo, A. (2013). How to write the dreaded self-appraisal. Retrieved from

Rajput, V. (2015, ). Performance appraisal system. Asian Journal of Nursing Education and

Research, 5(2), 287-292.

Sargeant, J. (2012). How external performance standards inform self-assessment. Medical

Teacher, 34, 267-268.