Evaluation of Employees as a Play Game

This is how assessment promotes loyalty and motivation

Not just, but especially in Thai culture, even the most objective criticism is quickly taken as “insulting”. Immediate dismissal or at least a lasting worsening of the working atmosphere is the consequence. Conversely, praise often leads to immediate overestimation of oneself and, in the extreme case, to an immediate search for an even better-paid job.

All in all, in Thai employee culture, simply making judgmental remarks to employees is always associated with certain risks. And yet, a critical assessment of an employee’s performance level serves both the employee’s and the company’s performance.

It just has to be “tackled” in the right way. The implementation of a specific method is a management matter.

One solution is provided by a specific type of evaluation system, which will be presented in this article.

The Procedure

The introduction of an appraisal system and its rules should be positively communicated.

It should be made clear that every employee has the right to know on a regular basis how he or she is seen within the company and by his or her supervisor. Vice versa, he must also be given the opportunity to state at least once a year how he feels about his own performance. After all, both the employee and the company should know what they are expecting from each other.

A suitable date is at the beginning of each new year of employment. The evaluation can then also be linked to the individual salary discussion on an objective basis.

Especially where no “Lawnmower Method” assures everyone the same salary but takes away their special opportunities, appraisal and salary may be combined.

The assessment as a “play game”

An assessment must not degenerate into a “one-sided conversation”. It should rather be conducted as a “game”, at the very least as a dialogue. Ideally, the assessment will be divided into several criteria and sub-criteria, depending on the function of the employee, for instance into

  • Personality and Character
  • Professional Knowledge and Potential for Development
  • Performance and Team Attitude
  • Leadership and Management (if applicable)

A number of sub-criteria are then developed for each criterion that are relevant to the area being assessed.

As for example for “Personality” the sub-criteria “Loyalty”, “Critical behavior”, “Willingness to take responsibility”, “Decisiveness”, etc.

It is particularly important to find about 5-10 pre-formulated answers for each sub-criterion, divided into “positive attitudes” and “negative attitudes”.

The next section will show why this is essential, because now the game begins.

The Game Starts: Self-Assessment and Appraisal

Already a few days before the actual interview, the employee is given the complete evaluation sheet with the instruction to mark those pre-prepared answer options in all categories or subcategories which, in his opinion, best describe himself or his behavior.

The appraiser prepares the same. He also considers which answers best apply to the employee. Both of them may at the same time note down concrete events or achievements on which their assessment is based.

Both the appraiser and the appraisee then summarize each evaluation criterion in a score and record it.

At the assessment meeting, both parties compare their scores and evaluation for each of the criterion. In turn, one or the other begins to present his or her (self-) assessment and score, and both now discuss possible divergences.

If both come to approximately the same results with deviations of maximally one grade, this as a rule simply leads to joy on both sides, even if the result itself is once rather weak. In any case, consensus is perceived as positive.

It is not uncommon for one side or the other to correct its own evaluation during the discussion, because both sides are seeking balance and agreement. At the end follows a summarizing evaluation by the superior.

It is essential that, on the basis of this summary only, both goals for the (further) improvement of the employee as well as possible career steps will be agreed upon. It is also possible that these are connected with salary improvements in the case of reaching the goals.

The employee then has another 2–3 days for comments and the appraisal usually ends amicably, with increased mutual understanding of both sides’ expectations and thus has a motivating effect to reach the goals.

The Benefit for the Superior

The greatest side effect for the superior is that when preparing and conducting the appraisal, he realizes for himself how he really values the employee.

Weaknesses either become secondary if he recognizes how effective and important the employee is overall. But if he cannot identify strengths and development opportunities anywhere, he will consider whether a fair separation conversation might not be better for the company at some point.

He will also have a more accurate perception as to whether the employee is making an effort to implement the agreed measures or improvements going forward. That observation provides the opportunity to criticize calmly and with reference to the target agreements.

By the way: A proper evaluation of one’s employees should also be a key criterion that flows into one’s own evaluation as a superior or leader.

Anyone who fails – if this culture exists in the company – to regularly assess his employees and set common goals is not a good manager. Everybody who just rip the employee apart is for sure not a good leader.

Anyone who gives all employees top scores in all areas is most probably unable to differentiate or ´he wants to be “Everybody’s Darling.” The latter is also not a qualification as a manager.

Loyalty and long-term effect

There are three elements that create loyalty among quality personnel:

    • The remuneration: this is a “Hygienic Question”! Employees who are always convinced that they are underpaid and will remain so will certainly look for a change.
      But overpaying a person likewise will have a negative effect on loyalty. Those who always harbor the subliminal feeling that they are not returning the company’s payment will either “compensate,” i.e., constantly criticize the company in order to justify themselves for accepting overpayment.
      Or they will feel trapped in a “Gilded Cage.” Neither breeds loyalty.
    • Getting along with colleagues is of major importance. Who likes to go in someplace every morning and meet people he doesn’t like and who don’t like him? No money in the world helps there in the long run.
    • But the most crucial criterion is a certain level of career planning. If a person knows that he or she can achieve what they desire within the company, they are like a “Train on a Track” that is difficult to get off the track.

The appraisal interview with target agreement is a way for the employee to get on track, and with commitment, he/she will constantly come closer to this goal in a fair company.
That is why an appraisal interview is of such great importance for loyalty in the company.

What to do in the event of a conflict?

It happens rarely, but it does happen nonetheless, that the superior and the appraisee evaluate specific characteristics and performance in completely opposite ways.

For example, if the appraisee considers himself to be an absolute organizational genius, while the superior considers his job organization to be simply chaotic, an agreement on objectives is hardly achievable.

How can a person strive for improvement if he/she already considers him/herself to be just “perfect”?

This is the point at which the appraisal must be discontinued. It is better to arrange a follow-up meeting in the near future than to part ways in a conflict.

In the interim, the employee will objectively present his or her organization, while the supervisor will explain their criticism with factual reference to the appraisal in the case of obvious deficiencies.

If one does not advance again in follow-up discussion, then the appraiser must decide whether he “can live” with the negative condition, or he must think about a separation.

Sanet CREATING CAREERS advises and helps.

CREATING CAREERS, the recruitment agency of the Sanet Group in Thailand, will gladly advise on employee appraisals and will also be happy to design an individual evaluation template for your company. Simply contact us by e-mail at [email protected] and we will get back to you.