Posts Tagged ‘appraisals’
Unlike the previous appraisals I have carried out for CeL, I found this year’s one to have one enjoyable component.
Yes, there was something actually fun to do (for me, at least)! I asked staff of CeL to use their e-portfolios to showcase their most representative work and to reflect on their growth by comparing what they did before and what they do now.
This meant that they could lead in appraisal process. They could prepare a short presentation, view their peers’ portfolios, evaluate their progress, and get a clearer picture of their own development.
Looking back, I realize how long I have been setting this up.
CeL will be three years old in July 2013. We started the e-portfolio process almost three years ago as a basic record-keeping process and for mid-term work reviews only. The e-portfolios were somewhat peripheral compared to the forms and interview processes for appraisal. This year they played a more central role.
In theory, we could have incorporated e-portfolios into the appraisal process within a year. But I think that biding our time and moving in tandem with changes around us was a wiser move. The process was less intimidating and felt more natural.
I think we have made great strides in CeL’s version of the appraisals. We have taken ownership of the process and we focused simultaneously on the more human elements and evidence-based artefacts during our appraisals.
Each year I build upon the experience of previous work reviews and appraisals. This year CeL is using our Google Sites-hosted e-portfolios more actively in the appraisal process.
When we were forged in 2010, I instituted the use of e-portfolios for my staff to document their projects and progress. We have used them primarily for work reviews as these are part of a lower stakes, formative-type process.
This year, however, I want my staff to use their e-portfolios during their appraisals in two ways:
- Showcase the project most representative of their current work
- Provide evidence of learning and growth by comparing current artefacts with previous ones
I think this makes the appraisal process a more proactive one (they must learn to start the process in advance) and one that provides greater ownership (they make decisions on what to showcase and how best to do it).
Just like this time last year, I am appraising the staff of CeL again.
We have successfully managed a 360 work review in between appraisals. We still use e-portfolios for reviews and appraisals.
I still do not like once-a-year appraisals because no one has the right to evaluate a year’s worth of work in 15 to 30 minutes. Instead, I like regular lunch meetings because they are mini appraisals.
Appraisals are very much like summative assessment. They are high-stakes, a grade is attached to them, and folks do not really learn much from them.
On the other hand, lunch meetings are like formative assessment. There is no stress, there are no grades, and folks get more immediate feedback and can potentially learn more.
Appraisals are not the most fun to prepare for or to experience. They are certainly not fun to undertake either.
Emphasis on undertake, as in undertaker. As in buried under paperwork and confined by the coffin of appraisal policies. Or seeing your recommendations reduced to smoke upon cremation.
Each of my staff is appraised with the help (help?) of four forms. They are normally given only three because the fourth is really what helps determine their grade.
Speaking of grade, just how old school can one get? A whole year’s work reduced to a letter that can affect your sense of self worth and your pay increment. Sound familiar?
I opted to share the fourth form with my staff in a bid to create greater transparency and provide an opportunity for my staff to self-evaluate. I think that self-evaluation is important. If you are honest with yourself, you will be your worst critic and seek ways to improve yourself no matter what others around you say. Yeah, I’m an idealist.
I also think that the word appraisal is a bit of a misnomer. There is not enough praise in appraisal. Appraisals can turn into nitpicking fests, personal attacks, or baking what comes out of the rumour mill. So I’ve tried to focus on the positives with my staff.
The only other different thing I did was to require my staff to update their e-portfolios. While these were largely repositories of work-related projects during the mid-term work reviews last year, they were more like mirrors for reflection this time round.
But I think we only glanced at our reflections this time round. We will need to take a longer, harder look next year. We might also attempt a 360 degree appraisal and bring our peers into the picture. And to make it truly 360, maybe my staff should appraise me too…