To make the best use of the performance appraisal system, the training professional needs to think about the following issues:
1. Quality: What is the quality of the appraisal system in its ability to generate accurate, relevant, and useful information on the assessment of performance?
2. Design: What is the extent to which the design of any forms, procedures, etc., encourages the effective identification of training needs? In many systems, there is a section labeled ‘Training Requirements,’ but are managers encouraged:
- To clearly show the link between lack of specific performance and a need for action?
- To consider non-training solutions?
- To specify the training need very precisely rather than proposing a training course?
- To indicate the degree of priority and urgency of the training needs identified?
3. Intervention: What is the most effective intervention of the training professional in the process?
Is it to:
- Simply record and action the line managers’ requests?
- To discuss the requirements only when there is a problem of some sort, e.g., insufficient budget, unclear requirements?
- To discuss all appraisal findings with line managers to establish the performance needs and the best way of meeting them jointly?
The answers will depend on a number of factors including, the perceived role of the line managers, the training professional’s workload, the relationship between the training professional and the line managers, and perhaps most crucial of all, the ability of the line managers to undertake what is in effect a mini TNA on their staff.
Many organizations now see training and development as an important part of the line manager role.
If this is the case and the main burden for the identification of individual training needs is seen as the line manager’s responsibility, then an important issue to consider is the necessary training of line managers in TNA.
4. Systems: What systems does the training professional need to set up to action the training needs output from performance appraisal?
Potentially, this method generates a lot of information, and it is vital that systems are in place to record, analyze, action, and monitor the information.
There is nothing worse (and how familiar this sounds) than a complaint made by both line managers and staff that nothing has been done as a result of their performance appraisal report.