Performance Appraisal and Review at the Zoological Society of San Diego

Published: 2021-07-08 08:15:05
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Category: Zoo

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The Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD) was founded in 1916. It was a non-profit organization that operated the Zoo and two more organizations in San Diego. ZSSD employed around 2500-3000 people during each year. The employees working in the ZSSD comprised a diverse group ranging from world-renowned scientists to teenage food-service workers. The HR function of the company was handled by an HR team headed by its Director. There were also other people who were responsible for organizational development, planning and training. It was actually very similar to any other mid-market enterprise.
In January 2005, ZSSD implemented a new strategic plan in order to modernize its way of doing business. As a part of it, the organization wanted to improve employee accountability, recruitment and retention. In fact, ZSSD did not have a formal process for their employee performance appraisal, evaluation or development. They did not use any uniform metrics in order to evaluate subordinates, it was done in a very vague and subjective way and there was no seriousness regarding the whole process (there were even no consequences if the forms were not filled up) so multiple versions of the forms were handed in to the managers.
As a matter of fact, there were employees who had not been evaluated for many years (there was one in particular who had not been reviewed in 27 years! ). With the purpose of facing this fact, a new Director of Human Resources, Tim Mulligan, was signed. Mulligan soon found all the problems related with the employees appraisal and evaluation and so decided to use an online employee performance management system. First of all, he identified the primary objectives for the new system which were to link unbiased employee goals to the organization ones and to include a midyear review to ensure there was continuous communication with the employees.
Mulligan also realized they needed to identify the relevant metrics to measure performance and to ensure the software solution was easy to use so it was decided that performance appraisals would be based on two categories: • – Achievement of goals • – Leadership competencies At the beginning of each year, each manager would choose five goals, at least three of which had to be linked to overall organizational objectives. The other two goals could be related to the manager’s specific area of operation.
By January 2007 more than 300 employees were using the new online system, which somehow enabled to track the progress of appraisals in less time and allow them to be completed in a much more fair and proper way. So setting goals and implementing the new performance management process helped employees get a clear understanding of their responsibilities and made them realize the organization had put special emphasis on accountability. Mulligan started to notice how the employee’s motivation and morale had been boosted and also how their satisfaction increased throughout
higher benefits, improved training programs and rewarding performance. Of course now employees worked harder to get better personal financial rewards, which contributed to the overall objectives of the organization. Thus we are now able to see how important can be the role HR plays in a mid- market enterprise by helping achieve organizational objectives increasing the efficiency and horizontal communication following a previously established batch of simple rules.
Now the appraisals were much faster and credible and even the whole organization was taking profit of it, supported by a much more self- conscious and effective work done by the employees, which also means it was easier to select those of them more talented and hard-workers. I see it like a huge improvement within the organization, like a win-win arrangement where both parts, employees and organization take advantage of it.

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