Employee Evaluation Systems; are they worth it?

In the course of organization leadership, interaction between leadership and members of an organization suffer a disconnect of sorts, where consumers endure the consequences of this disconnect via poor service and less than expected concerns for customer satisfaction.

As individual human development is a complex and is constantly evolving to develop each of our individual personalities; a basic understanding of human development could help organization leaders understand who their members are and why their members react (act) the way they do in carrying out their daily job functions.

Employee Performance Evaluation Systems (EPES) help organizational leaders better understand their organization members’ strengths, weaknesses and helps develop leader skills in supervisors needed to oversee further development of their members. Albert Bandura (1977) stated that at varying stages of life, humans tend to model their behavior to other humans when considering who to “be”, but Bandura is cautious to say that people do not passively absorb standards of behavior from whatever influences they experience. Indeed, they must select from numerous evaluations that are prescribed and modeled by different individuals, as well as by the same individual in differing circumstances. If leaders do not understand the dynamic of behavior modeling, leaders will fail to lead effectively.

The objective of an EPES is to create structure within organizations and allow members to achieve greater self-efficacy. In other words, if organization members observe a lack of structure, a lack of leadership within an organization, members tend to duplicate observed disorganization within their own work space. Employees tend to respond to disorganization within an environment with disorganized work performance; thus poorly structured leadership creates poorly trained, poorly motivated employees.

Bandura (1977) stated that in the process of selecting from numerous models, information must be integrated so that rules can be generated or general standards formed against which individuals judge their own behavior. An EPES allows individuals the opportunity to judge themselves via the criteria within an EPES that governs employee behaviors. Rather, via set guidelines and direction, employees will have the ability to determine the outcome of their performance. Bandura further stated that the selection of standards depends on the weighting of such factors as disparities in perceived competence between the model and the self, how much a specific activity is valued and the extent to which individuals see their behavior as a function of their own effort and ability rather than external factors over which they have little control. The determination of whether an employee is performing to standards is solely placed on what that individual determines as acceptable standards within an organization.

An EPES can be designed around behavior that is regulated by contingencies and contingencies are partly of a person’s own making. By their actions, humans play an active role in producing the reinforcing contingencies that impinge upon them. Thus, behavior partly creates the environment, and the environment influences the behavior in a reciprocal fashion. Here an EPES tool has the functionality to create positive environments created by employees. Rather, those employees who see the opportunity to achieve a higher level of self-efficacy or achieve self-actualization within an organization, now have the ability to create the environment that will foster that ascension via the EPES.

As humans have the ability to “manage” who or what they model themselves after, a properly developed EPES allows employees to create such an environment. Similarly, as humans subconsciously model their behavior against external stimuli, humans also have the ability to regulate their modeling as well as develop “other” stimuli to model from if their primary impetuous of modeling turns out to be unattractive. Understanding modeling allows organization leaders to establish rules and standards via an EPES, where humans assign a value to specific activities where they have control of the outcome as opposed to external factors, where there is no control. Thus allowing organization leaders to set the standard of modeling humans naturally search for.

Maslow’s (1968) “Hierarchy of Needs” theory is based on two underlying principles: 1) everyone starts at the bottom and attempts to move up the pyramid of needs when they see that the need above is not being fulfilled, and 2) a need cannot be activated until the one immediately below it has been met. Here an EPES allows employees and organizations to start “fresh” where all direction and instruction are presented at the start of the leader member relationship. This fresh start allows both organization and employee the opportunity to create and develop standards by which successful evolution of development will be measured. Successes can be measured and monitored so that both organization and employee achieve success relative to their particular objective. In other words, employees achieve success by further developing career efficacy which in turn cultivates self-efficacy, self-actualization. Organizations benefit by “managing” the development of employees who have achieved greater levels of self-efficacy, self-actualization. Achieving greater levels of self-efficacy, self-actualization and providing organizations an opportunity to present themselves in a constructive light will have a positive impact on society as well.

McNatt et al. (2008) found that people with greater self-efficacy believe they can affect their environment, they should be more pro-active in seeking problem resolution, which should lead to better situations and thus more committed attitudes. Bandura reasoned that efficacy beliefs “may” regulate emotional states by supporting effective courses of action to deal with situations in ways that create more positive emotional responses (Bandura, 1977). If people with greater self-efficacy feel better equipped to handle the challenges of the job environment, they should be less stressed about being able to meet job demands, and be more committed.

An EPES recognizes that employees (humans) strive to become “someone” in society, where society can be a social structure within an organization. There is a societal structure of sorts within all business organizations where employees strive to advance within that structure. Maslow (1968) stated that as humans achieve satisfying the basic needs in society itself, (outside of work) humans also search for the ultimate fulfillment of growth, creativity and the ability to use skills appropriately (self-actualization) at work. Maslow recognizes that environment plays a role in human development but does not rest his entire theory on one’s development via environmental influences. Maslow (1968) stated:

Man is ultimately not molded or shaped into humanness or taught to be human. The role of the environment is ultimately to permit him or help him to actualize his own potentialities, not its potentialities (Maslow, 1968, p.176).

A properly developed EPES allows business organizations to not only further their individual employee development but helps supplement their business initiatives via consistent evaluations and training. An EPES identifies strengths and weaknesses of employees as well as gives employees a sense of beingwithin an organization, or as identified earlier, the society within an organization. A properly developed EPES also has the functionality to support employee development at either point of one’s employment. Rather, an EPES can manage individuals at the beginning of their career or toward the middle and end of their career. An EPES is best in managing those individuals coming into the workforce and are just developing their identity.

Luis Luarca PhD

For more information on Dr. Luis Luarca, employee motivation or Employee Performance Evaluation Systems, contact Allectus LLC.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. (3rd ed.). New York: J. Wiley & Sons.

McNatt, D. B., Judge, T.A. (2008). Self-efficacy intervention, job attitudes, and turnover: A field experiment with employees in role transition. Human Relations 783. doi:10.1177/0018726708092404.

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