A director of the advertising agency owned by tycoon Bob Jacoby once grumbled that he wasn't enjoying his work. Jacoby's reply was, 'I don't pay you good money to enjoy yourself. If you enjoy working here, you should be paying me money.' Jacoby's sentiments used to be common.(0)____ Happily, things have changed. Most organisations now undertake regular staff appraisals, at which employees have the opportunity to discuss one-to-one with their line manager their ambitions and hopes, their strengths and weaknesses, their achievements and their disasters. But it is worth remembering how new all this is, and why.
For a start, appraising isn't something many managers do naturally of their own accord. They often find appraisals difficult to handle and have to be made to carry them out. Appraisal systems have become widespread partly as a result of employment legislation, but more particularly because companies have learned that such assessments can work to their advantage. (8)......The company can improve its collective performance by helping employees to improve their individual performance.
Managers who use appraisals need to approach them very carefully. They should bear in mind their own experiences of being appraised when in junior positions, recalling which appraisals were helpful, which were not, and why. In most cases, their own bosses did their homework, checking out the job specification, the C.V. and any previous reports. (9).........As a result, a lot of time would have been wasted, debating exactly what had happened and when.
Being prepared and appreciating what it is like to be on the receiving end are, indeed, the keys to successful appraising. It is important to begin an appraisal by giving members of staff a chance to express their own views about their performance. (10) ......... Any information gained from colleagues is normally given in a positive spirit, since nowadays everyone understands appraisals and appreciates that they are carried out with good intentions.
The atmosphere in the appraisal should be one of positive and open discussion about how the employee is performing in the company.(11).........Some individuals will feel unjustly criticised when their boss makes comments on their performance. Others will respond fiercely to a critical assessment - although if they defend themselves passionately, that is no bad thing!
Finally, it is important to regard appraisals as part of a continuing process.(12)......... Instead, they should be followed up with friendly questions from time to time, making it clear to employees that new goals and strategies suggested in them are to be taken seriously and are to be acted upon.
If these pieces of advice are followed, it is hoped that both the employees and the company as a whole will benefit from the experience.
A However, managers must take great care in this respect.
B Only after that should managers put forward their own points, which are likely to include comments collected from others in the organisation.
C They should not be forgotten as soon as they are over.
D Like many other aspects of free enterprise, appraisals are an excellent example of underlying self-interest.
E Sometimes the appraiser goes too far the other way and fails to communicate problem areas and scope for improvement.
F If they relied on memory, they probably got things wrong.
G Employees were paid, and they obeyed; if they didn't like it, they could leave.