Designing and Implementing Effective Performance Appraisal Systems: Never Ending Frustration or a New Chance for Organisational and HR-Development?

13-14/Sep/2010  •  Maastricht

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In the course of the reforms in the European public services, many administrations have introduced new instruments for measuring the performance of their staff. Furthermore approximately half of the EU member states have taken measures to establish a closer tie between performance and remuneration. All public service reform concepts in the EU member states have in common that individual performance should in future be better promoted and rewarded, but also evaluated and sanctioned. With increasing frequency, new performance appraisal systems are introduced, for example appraisals that are to be conducted based on target agreements. To this purpose, procedures and guidelines are being developed, to enable a comparative performance assessment with as little bureaucratic effort as possible. This conference investigates if and how these targets are achieved.

Classic performance appraisals have in the past few years been viewed very critically across Europe. Frequently performance appraisals are (if conducted at all) perceived as necessary chores in the everyday administrative life. Neither the superiors nor the employees were interested in the appraisals. In the meantime, the traditional legitimation problems involved with the instrument of performance appraisal have changed fundamentally. Additionally the instrument itself has significantly gained importance. In many member states, the performance appraisal is increasingly and more consistently linked to consequences for the personnel. These consequences affect performance agreements, performance-related pay, career development, promotions, and increasingly also job security. With these changes, the instrument of performance appraisal has gained a position at the core of human resource management. Yet the changes are not limited to the increased importance of this instrument. In fact, the increased significance also demands improved designation, application and professionalisation of the entire management process.

The current process is neither "good" nor "bad". It is ambivalent. Chances and risks are not far apart. At the moment no one knows which effects this trend will have on the position of the executive managers, or on the motivation of the staff and the position of the staff representatives.

Because of the general lack of international comparative data in the area of performance assessments in practice, this conference at EIPA proposes to look deeper into these questions in order to shed more light on these issues with a specific focus on the management perspective.