COMMERCE 392 – 201, 202
MANAGING THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP
REVIEW QUESTIONS 2011
SECTIONS 5 - 8
V. Managing Employee Performance
1. What are the key steps in the performance appraisal process?
2. What are the primary types of performance appraisal methods, and what are
the advantages and disadvantages associated with each?
3. What are some of the problems commonly associated with the performance
4. Why is coaching such an important element of the performance appraisal
VI. Managing Employee Performance
- Performance management: a process encompassing all activities related to
improving employee performance, productivity, and effectiveness.
o Includes goal setting, merit pay increases, training and development,
career management and disciplinary action
- A process of establishing a shared understanding about what is to be achieved,
and how it is to be achieved, and
- an approach to managing people
- That increases the probability of achieving business success.”
5. Explain the key steps in the performance appraisal process.
- Defining Performance Expectations
o Making sure that job duties and standards of performance are clear to all.
- Appraising Performance
o Comparing an employee’s actual performance to the standard that has
been set. This usually involves using one of the methods
- Providing Feedback sessions where the appraisal is communicated to the
employee and plans for development are discussed.
o Allow employee’s performance and progress are discussed and plans are
made for any development that is required.
- Performance appraisal problems
o Employees not told ahead of time what to do to achieve good performance
o Some standards are unrealistic, subjective, irrelevant
1 o Wrong method used to appraise
o Not communicating effectively in feedback session
o Many experts feel that traditional appraisals do not help in managing
performance and backfire
Neither motivate employee nor guide their development.
Cause conflict between employee and supervisor
Manager feels that they might not have the necessary skills to
Appraisal sometimes will give unanticipated consequences
- What do employee want and need from performance management
o What Is Expected of Me & How Will Success Be Judged?
o How Am I Doing? What do I need to improve?
o How Is the Business Doing?
o Where Do I Stand in the Workforce?
o Where Am I Going?
6. Define two types of performance appraisal methods, and the advantages
and disadvantages associated with them.
- Graphic rating scale method: list of number of traits and range of performance for
o The employee is then rated by identifying the score that best describes his
or her level of performance for each trait.
o Adv: they are relatively easy to develop and use
o Disadv: puts a focus on the person rather than the behaviour. Less legally
defensible because of their subjective and ambiguous nature.
- Forced distribution method: predetermined percentages of rates are placed in
various performance categories. Eg 15%high 20% high avg 30% avg rest are
o One’s performance is always rated relative to that of one’s peers.
o Disadv: demotivates employees that are below average
- Critical incident method: keeping record of uncommonly good or undesirable
examples of an employee’s work related behaviour and reviewing it with the
employee at predetermined times
o Adv: provide specific hard facts for explaining appraisals
Manager thinks about employee all year long because incidents are
accumulative. Therefore, appraisals reflect more than just recent
Providing concrete examples of how employee develop
o Disad: cannot be used along. Or use to compare employee performance,
2 - Behaviour anchoring rating scales: appraisals methods aims to combine the
benefits of narratives, critical incidents and quantified ratings by anchoring a
quantified scale with specific examples of good or poor performance.
o Adv: legally defensible than trait methods
o Gives employee specific example of how to do well
o Dis: time consuming to develop and keeping informant current,
- Management by objectives: involves setting specific measureable goals with each
employee and then periodically reviewing the progress made.
7. Explain some of the problems that are commonly associated with the
performance appraisal process.
- Reliability and validity: appraisal systems must be based on performance criteria
that are valid or accurate.
o Consistent rating and fairness
o Criteria must be related to job being appraised, broad enough to cover all
aspects of the job, and specific
- Unclear performance standards: although the graphic rating scale seems objective,
it would probably result in unfair appraisal.
o The scale that is too open to interpretation of traits and standards
- Managers are not trained to appraise which will lead to dishonest or avoidance of
Performance evaluations are a time – consuming process that involves delivering
what is often perceived as "bad news" and can thus be the source of anguish
and aggravation. Without proper training and guidance, managers also may be
prone to various forms of bias in the process leading to conflict and complaints of
inconsistency on the part of managers. These factors have led to a view of
performance appraisals as a waste of time, a source of unnecessary conflict or
simply an empty ritual. In the unionized context, the negative aura surrounding
performance appraisals has become especially pronounced and unions regularly
grieve performance appraisal results as being fundamentally unfair. All of these
factors have made performance appraisals and area of both controversy and
experimentation with new methods for managing and improving employee
8. Describe the key elements of an effective performance interview and
justify your recommendations, given the purpose of the interview.
- Prepare well in advance (remember advice from film)
- Before the interview make sure to review past performance appraisals and note
any differences in behaviour in the past
- Be direct and specific
- Focus on job related behaviour, NOT opinions of personal character
- Encourage the employee to talk – information exchange is critical
3 - Develop an action plan
- Ensure employee leaves with clear knowledge of what he /she is doing right and
wrong, and what goals for improvement and development are.
- Look for ways to assist employee - i.e. does he/she need more information about
the business/ a particular product or service? Is further training needed? Is there a
reason for below standard performance that you had not considered (i.e. an
9. Why is coaching such an important element of the performance appraisal
- To motivate through recognition and rewards
- To strengthen employee – manager relations
- To encourage 2 way communication in order to identify individual and
10. Many managers are uncomfortable appraising employee performance.
Explain some of the reasons why these situations can be uncomfortable for
managers, and recommend some ways for improving the performance appraisal
- They do not think they have the necessary skills to appraise.
- They worry about the legal issues
- How do they properly rate the employees
- Remedies: HR department provide guideline and policy to equip managers
o Train managers to use the rating instruments properly
o Using multiple appraiser
o Provide corrective guidance
1. Recommend a performance appraisal method for salespeople, web
designers, and web surfers (see p. 311 of the text). Why do you recommend
this method? Are there any legal implications associated with this method?
- guidelines for developing effective (legal + ethical)
(a) Conduct a job analysis to ascertain
characteristics (eg. “Timely project completion”) required for
successful job performance. Use this information to create job-
4 (b) Incorporate these characteristics into
a rating instrument.
- rating instruments that are tied to specific job behaviours,
such as BARS, is recommended
(c) Make sure that definite standards of performance are provided to
all raters and ratees in writing.
(d) Use clearly defined and measurable individual dimensions of job
performance (eg. “quantity” or “quality”) rather than undefined,
global measures of job performance (eg. “overall performance”).
(e) When using a graphic rating scale, avoid abstract trait names (eg.
“loyalty”, “honesty”) unless they can be defined in terms of
(f) Employ subjective supervisory ratings or comments as only one
component of the overall appraisal process.
(g) Train supervisors to use the rating instrument properly. Give
instructions on how to apply performance appraisal standards when
making judgments. Ensure that subjective standards are not subject
(h) Allow appraisers regular contact with the employee being
(i) Whenever possible, have more than one appraiser conduct the
appraisal, and conduct al such appraisals independently. This process
can help to cancel out individual errors and biases.
(j) Utilize formal appeal mechanisms and a review of ratings by
(k) Document evaluations and reasons for any termination decision.
(l) Where appropriate, provide corrective guidance to assist poor
performers in improving their performance.
Who should be doing the rating?
- Direct supervisor: they are usually the one doing the rating because is relatively
easy and makes sense for them to do it. They also have the best position to
- Peer appraisals: having your peers to evaluate can be effective in predicting future
o Self managing teams, will create positive impact on perceptions of open
communication, motivation, group cohesion, and satisfaction,
o Also build trusting relationship among workers
- Rating committees: having a group of people to rate.
o Eliminate the discrepancy made by individual supervisors,
5 o Tend to be more fair, reliable and valid.
o No personal bias
- Self rating: used in conjunction with supervisors’ ratings.
- Management appraisal by employees: having the employees evaluate their
management. Giving them feedback (upward feedback)
- 360 degree appraisal: a performance appraisal technique that uses multiple raters
including peers, employees, supervisors, and customers
o Information is collected all around
Dealing with rater error
- Halo effect: the problem that supervisors’ rating of an employee on one trait
biases the rating of that person on other traits
o Occurs for especially friendly or unfriendly employee
- Central tendency: tendency to rate all employees in the middle of the scale
- Leniency or strictness: the problem that occurs when a supervisor has a tendency
to rate all high or low
- Appraisal bias: individual traits such as age, sex, race affect the rating the
o Illegal under human right legislation
- Regency effect: when rating are based on employees recent performance, whether
good or bad
- Similar to me bias: supervisor tend to give high rating for employees with whom
he or she has something in common.
- To avoid: familiar with the above problem mentioned, adequate training reviewed
by immediate boss or HR
VI. Collective Bargaining & Workplace Health & Safety
6 1. What are the basic rights of employees under the Labour Relations Code?
Basic right is the right to collective bargaining and the right of regulation of union-
1 Basic Rights of Employees: Be a Union Member and Seek Union Representation
2 Engage in “Concerted Activities”
2. What are the employer’s rights and limitations on those rights during a union
Union Certification & Decertification Employee Votes, Majority Rule
Employer Unfair Labour Practices:Discipline for Union Activity
Coercion –Threats or Actions for Union Activity
Inducements –Rewards for curtailing Union Activity
Retained Rights of Employer: Manage the Business
Express Facts or Reasonably-Held Opinions
Take Disciplinary Action for “Just & Reasonable Cause” (vs. Intimidation for Union
-process by which a Labour Relations Board revokes the right granted to a union to
represent employees and bargain on their behalf
-“certification” might refer to either the process by which a union obtains bargaining
rights or the end result of the application for such rights
-“Decertification” may refer to either the process followed to revoke the union’s
bargaining rights or the Board’s order terminating the rights
Labour Relations Code & Grievance Procedures
1 No Work Stoppages Once Collective Agreement in Force
2 Must Be Procedure to Achieve “Final & Binding” Resolution of Disputes
3 Grievance Procedure & “Rights” Arbitration
4 “Just Cause” for Discipline
3. What are the key steps in the collective bargaining process?
Parties to Commence Bargaining 60 Days before Expiration of Agreement
Contract Deadline Pressures Settlement 90+% of the Time
If No Settlement, Union May Strike, Employer May Lock Out
Before Work Stoppage: Genuine Bargaining, Vote, Notice to Other Party
• Notice to bargain, bargaining teams selected, preparation of demands, meetings,
conciliation/mediation agreement, arbitration, strike/lockout impasse
4. What are the sub-processes of collective bargaining?
• Distributive bargaining – win-lose, divide up limited resources
7 • Integrative bargaining – mutual gains, win-win
• Attitudinal structuring – relationship parties have and what they do to change it
• Intraorganizational bargaining – internal consensus on each side
• Process is Political vs. “Rational”!