Performance appraisal has become one of the critical aspects of workforce management in the corporate world. It is universally used to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the apprentices and employees alike. In organizations where apprentices are trained, they are absorbed into the company after 12 months or 6 years based on the nature of their contract. During that time, it is imperative that every apprentice is evaluated for their contribution, skill, timeliness and delivery capabilities. Through the process of Performance appraisal, organizations have been able to come up with creative solutions, expand to newer markets and sustain a positive reputation among all stakeholders.
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The need for performance appraisal among apprentices:
As much as apprentices require direction and guidance as to any other employees, there is an impending benefit when apprentices perform better. A quick look back into an apprenticeship in India would reveal that apprentices are not from wealthy backgrounds or metropolitan cities. They are predominantly students who had to intermittently dropout or those who could only afford to complete school education and not pursue higher education. Through the opportunity of apprenticeship programs, they receive a new leash at finding a job or making a career. Their determination to excel and their performance quotient outweighs other candidates who come from backgrounds with means.
While workforce productivity has been measured since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the bell curve (below) gained popularity when Jack Welch, the famed CEO of GE, implemented this within his organization.
The “top 20” per cent of the workforce is most productive, and 70% (the “vital 70”) work adequately. The other 10% (“bottom 10”) are non-producers and should be fired. Though the above measuring metrics seemed harsh and is debatable even today, there is no discrepancy in its analytical soundness. It may be said that the Bell Curve assessment is particularly useful in measuring the apprentice talent. Notably, managers have vouched for this process as it not only identifies the talented areas but also highlights the areas individuals require special attention.
As for apprentices, the evaluation is based on tasks or skill-levels primarily. Eg. Age, performance appraisal scores, number of defects per 1000 items, call handling time or any other data that you want to analyze can be evaluated through this methodology without any room for errors. Job delegation becomes effective as operative challenges are being handled through the results of PA. Managers map apprentices with the skill-levels needed for a specific job and assign tasks accordingly. This not only streamlines the process but allocates responsibility and offers growth opportunities for apprentices within the organization to excel.
Through PA, the leadership team or senior management is made aware of the concerns, challenges and grievances faced by apprentices. By being connected with the bottom-line workers, they receive the ground-level feedback, which can make or break their company. Government and Public Ltd. companies such as Airport authorities of India, Indian Oil Corporation, Ordnance factory etc. employ a considerable number of apprentices in their junior and middle management and their contributions have built the institution to what it is today.
Long-term benefits of Apprentices
In addition to building the company’s skills-base, providing quality training to apprentices is likely to bring benefits in terms of staff retention and patronage. A significant reason for this is that staff typically feel loyal to employers who have invested in their training, and are therefore more engaged and motivated to stay. It has also proven to provide healthy competition between the apprentices as they try to put their best foot forward at all times, which benefits the growth and success of the organization. A continuous supply of apprentices can also be supplied into organizations based on the partnership relationship with the apprentice institute.
Effects of Performance appraisal on apprentices:
- Transparency/Clarity: Preconceived notions, assumptions and misunderstandings are mitigated, and apprentices experience clarity and understanding in the PA process that will help them perform better in their jobs and assigned roles.
- Motivation: Motivation through performance appraisal makes apprentices confident in their work and will inspire higher levels of efficiency and improve their productivity.
- Accountability: In an annual review, apprentices are presented with their accomplishments and challenges throughout the year. By projecting their strength, weakness, success and losses, they understand their areas of expertise and area requiring training and attention. It allows them to accept responsibility and focus on their career development.
- Skill training: It can be assertively said that skill training has shaped the organization culture. However, concerning the organization climate of recruiting patterns and employability criteria needs more reformation, primarily in organizations who have not experienced the advantage of hiring apprenticeship talent. Their productivity surpasses organizational goals and contributes to the development of the community, region and nation.
- Permanent Employment: Apprentices are trained to be skilled workers, and their most significant validation is organizations finding them employable as a permanent employee. This promotes loyalty, efficiency and productivity to the apprentice and is an effective way to retain the best-skilled workers within the organization.
Trends of Performance Management In 2019
Currently, the performance management strategy focuses holistically on the employee/apprentice. This ranges from physical, emotional, and mental well-being to facilitate their personal and professional development.
Instead of an annual review, the regular performance management will be the focus this year as more companies are embracing a more agile and data-driven approach to help their people succeed. This will enable managers to be more involved in every aspect of the apprentice lifecycle.
Performance Appraisal promotes scalability of operations as it contributes to competitiveness, brand building, the efficiency of the apprentice and quality output. Management and Service sector apprentices have the opportunity to broaden their horizon through R&D through the new age of digitalization.
Apprentices are experts in their own right as they fit into a perfect job role pertaining to their skill. Their assessment through performance appraisal is only a means to explore futuristic opportunities, and soon they are bound to penetrate the mainstream workforce and in the corporate world.