Evaluation is one of the key methods of measuring the performance of employees. However, before the process of assessment takes place, the employer has to clarify issues they expect from workers in the form of performance outcomes. Setting the expected performance outcomes for employees in the construction industry is difficult since their work is hard to evaluate in terms of profitability. Nonetheless, there are a few standards that may be set to assess the performance of workers in this industry.
One of the performance outcomes is client satisfaction. Feedback from customers is crucial in helping to evaluate the work done by constructors. If the main tasks are well done, the company will receive positive comments from customers, but if the job is poorly done, numerous complaints will arise. Thus, client satisfaction is one of the key performance outcomes that ought to be used for construction supervisors and laborers. Another measure that may be used to evaluate the extent of these employees’ commitment and hard work is the number of completed tasks. This aspect is especially related to total duration taken to complete the assigned duties. A pertinent question in this regard is whether the workers finish the tasks assigned to them within the given time limit. Time is a vital factor as it is directly proportional to client satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to explain to employees that you expect them to complete the tasks assigned to them within the established time frame without unnecessary delays. The level of autonomy is an element that can be looked at to evaluate employees’ commitment and dedication to their work. Autonomy refers to the ability of individuals to perform the tasks required of them without too much supervision. Workers who need to be followed around to complete the tasks required of them are not qualified enough to work in the organization. Since most of the construction jobs take place in different localities, it may be difficult to monitor work effectiveness of supervisors and their teams. Finally, resource utilization is also a significant performance outcome, which should be used to evaluate employees. A worker who utilizes the least possible resources to accomplish the required amount of work is the most suitable for the job. Hence, it is crucial to explain to employees that they are expected to be efficient and at the same time prudent while serving the company.
Employee expectations must meet some basic criteria in order for them to be achievable by workers. After they are determined to be attainable, they must conform to the best practices of setting employee outcomes in the industry. One of the main aspects that needs to be assured while communicating those goals is availability of the necessary resources for the employee to succeed. As a manager, one cannot simply express their requirements to the workers, failing to allocate sufficient resources and still expecting them to do well. The organization must provide the right environment for employees in order for them to succeed. It is also a good practice to meet with each employee on an individual basis and establish detailed and precise responsibilities. Simply expecting an employee to act in a certain way is not enough to fulfill organizational goals, while ensuring that they conform to those expectations is a first step to effective cooperation. The difference lies in communication. Therefore, it is essential for the manager to clearly communicate their expectations to the employees. The manager must ensure that the workers understand their tasks and responsibilities. It is also a good practice to give workers autonomy to do their job. Micromanagement can be one of the hindrances to the achievement of employee expectations. One should allow workers some level of freedom to do the assigned tasks. However, it is important to receive updates on the work progress on a regular basis (Yuan & Woodman, 2010).
One of the best practices regarding the management of supervisors is observation. It refers to the act of close examination of actions or persons to be aware of their productivity. Supervisors monitor the work of personnel without interference, but through observation, which is supposed to be the best way to check whether the tasks are being carried out in an expected manner. However, it should not be a frequent practice as it may demotivate workers. The manager should set aside some time to randomly visit different sites to establish whether the workers are performing certain tasks according to the expected standard.
Coaching is a form of training whereby a coach or mentor assists and supports a learner to achieve professional as well as personal goals. It is an effective method to tutor a worker. When a supervisor coaches employees in order for them to produce the best results, one should ensure that they become more competent and do not develop unhealthy dependencies on the coaching relationship. Measuring the outcomes of the process, it is required to use standard measures where possible to ensure that each employee positively benefits from the relationship and the organization's goals are met.
Feedback is also important in ensuring the achievement of employee outcomes. It is standard practice to provide constructive and regular feedback on the workers’ progress towards achieving their targets. It is primarily done in the form of a report on the achievement of various outcomes, and it helps the employees to evaluate their work. It also acts as a motivating factor and helps each worker to improve in the areas he or she might have fallen short.
One of the aspects that are related to observation is that it should be conducted by a senior officer randomly, which may take a particular duration. This empowered person should have experience of a certain job performance. Randomness is important in ensuring that the behavior of workers remains unchanged on a specific visiting day of the senior officer. A time limit should be set to enable the supervisor to observe all the aspects of the job.
It is important to practice coaching as a training tactic for new employees as well as after receiving training in a particular subject. Supervision is partly a managerial job, and some workers may be new to management, for instance, after promotion. Therefore, each employee must be trained on various aspects of leadership. If the supervisor comes from another organization, he must be taught to carry out duties according to the company’s rules. Moreover, after receiving training in a particular area, such as the observance of safety standards at the site, coaching is important to help in its implementation.
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Another necessary aspect regarding feedback is that it should flow from both sides and be as frequent as possible. The workers should provide feedback on the hindrances they face when performing their tasks while the management should provide feedback on the employee outcomes (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Additionally, feedbacks must be provided on a regular basis, for example, weekly, monthly, or daily to achieve optimum effectiveness.
Bias refers to discrimination against a person or some object. Employees have a general expectation that the evaluation of their work ought to be free and fair, which means that it should be devoid of bias. However, biases are bound to arise during performance appraisal and at times, they occur unconsciously.
The most frequently occurring bias that takes place when evaluating performance is contrast. It happens when a manager compares the performance of an employee with other employees rather than the company’s standard. When there is a relative comparison, some workers must end up at the bottom irrespective of whether they meet or even exceed the company’s standard. Bias is avoidable by strict adherence to the company’s standard. Another bias often arises when evaluation of employees is based on the halo effect. It refers to judging a person’s performance based on experience. Such worker is highly rated in all sectors simply because he or she performed well in one area. The best way to avoid this bias is to judge the employee by each task rather than implicitly. The problem of leniency also affects the process of evaluation. A lenient manager gives all members he or she is evaluating within the group a satisfactory rating. Leniency mainly happens when managers have a wide span of control, which is closely connected with a common date of assessment. Leniency can be overcome by reducing a manager’s span of control or making staff evaluation dates random. One more common bias is recency. It arises when most recent behavior of workers becomes the focus of general evaluation. This bias can affect both excellent and poorly performing employees. In this case, a poor performer receives a high rating simply because he has done something excellent recently. An employee should be judged on a case by case basis to prevent this bias.
A company must develop an effective system of performance appraisal to achieve the best results. In addition to being effective, the system must be able to stand trial in a court of law. Such a system is said to be legally defensible. A legally defensible performance evaluation system usually exhibits the following characteristics. First, it has to be based on a rigorous job analysis that unravels critical elements of job performance. In other words, it has to clearly identify the most important components of a job, which the employee is expected to fulfill. Second, it should be purely based on results. Employees subject to the system should be rewarded based on merit alone, and no other ambiguous characteristics. Then, individuals in charge of the performance evaluation must be trained on how to use the system. Such persons should have a thorough knowledge of how the system works. It is not enough to give them evaluation material, which they can interpret. They need to have practical experience. Fourth, the appraisals, as well as their rationale, must be documented by the raters. Documentation assists in future reference and serves as evidence of the nature of evaluation. Last but not least, the system must have a formal appeal system or a mechanism through which any unhappy worker may challenge the nature of assessment (Performance Resource Center, n.d.).
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In a performance appraisal system that is legally defensible, the individual who is obliged to carry out a performance evaluation should be a senior employee, such as a higher level manager. Therefore, a senior manager in the department carries out job appraisals. If he or she is not capable of performance appraisal, another manager from the human resource department should evaluate and reward employees accordingly.
During the performance review session, one of the most effective strategies is to open it with some positive news, for instance, by outlining the specific achievements during the period of review. The positive note helps to create a relaxed atmosphere. When discussing the shortcomings, it is important to be precise so that workers understand the areas in which their performance have been less effective. Further, the evaluator should make the session interactive. It is essential to allow the employees to raise concerns and make suggestions on areas that need improvement (Paychex, 2014).
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The company primarily prefers internal staffing or promotion system to reward staff for filling vacant managerial and supervisory positions. Such tactics is considered to be a performance-based reward system. The only basis of the system is completion of tasks to meet client satisfaction. This system has the potential to undermine planning and implementation of a formal performance management system. In addition to being effective, a formal performance management system should also be legally defensible. The current system is only one-dimensional. Moreover, it ignores other performance-related aspects, such as complexity of the job, the duration an employee has worked for an organization, educational qualifications of the worker, among other criteria. It additionally lacks vital elements for a legally valid system. Thus, it can be challenged in court by unhappy workers.
One of the modifications to the current reward system includes rewarding the whole group. A group reward would encourage teamwork rather than competition among the employees. It would further help to focus on the achievement of the organization's goal as a whole rather than individual’s. Another modification that this program should undergo is inclusion of target setting. In conjunction with their superiors, employees should set achievable goals and receive a reward for achieving them.
Criticism is one of the factors that demotivates many employees. However, if criticism is positive and constructive, it will yield favorable results for employees. When criticizing an employee, it is important to be objective. An employer should make sure that all workers undergo the same rigorous scrutiny to avoid subjectivity when it comes to criticism. It is also vital to ensure that positive deeds are highlighted as well. Therefore, criticism without explanation will never be successful. On the contrary, praise and criticism at the same time exhibit the employer’s objectivity ( Scivicque, 2012).
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