The Call - Summer 2014 - (Page 36)

F E AT U R E MAKING PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS MEANINGFUL AND EFFECTIVE By John Ferraro I have had a few stops in my public safety communications career, and each time I arrived, I heard the same thing from employees about their performance appraisals. Comments ranged from expletives I can't repeat in a professional article to pointing out the blatant unfairness and inconsistencies of whatever the current system was. I had attended a very good training session on performance appraisals many years ago, and I did not think it would be difficult to go from point "A" to point "B." What I guessed then, and what I know now, is that fixing what's broken is not difficult. It requires out-of-the-box thinking, complete buy-in from the entire staff, and a commitment to the new process by the management team. * An employee receives different ratings when compared to a coworker with the same measured performance. * An employee's rating is lowered or elevated without proper proof (documentation). A Unique Idea The performance appraisal process loses credibility when the perception is that it's unfair and inconsistent. Inconsistency can take many forms: A former boss and I started that out-of-the-box thinking a few years ago and arrived at a way to combat inconsistency and unfairness. Performance appraisals are normally written by the person supervising the employee being evaluated. It has largely always been an individual activity. Our idea was to put all of the evaluators in the same room for a period of time (we blocked four, eight-hour days), to write all the telecommunicators' performance appraisals. This had several positive effects: * An employee receiving different ratings for a category depending on whom the evaluator is from year to year. * The narrative language was all written in the same voice for all of the telecommunicators' performance appraisals. 36 | THE CALL | SUMMER 2014 * The group of evaluators determined what qualified for an above standards rating, a meet standards rating, and a below standards rating, and then applied the criteria to all telecommunicator categories. * The group process helped to balance the human element. As human beings, an evaluator's most difficult challenge is to overcome personal biases. The group held each other in check and enforced the theory that ratings could only be raised or lowered with proper documentation. * A side benefit was that the entire project became a good team-building exercise for the group of evaluators. It was not an easy week. They laughed, argued, and got frustrated, but in the end, they all had a final product that made them proud. I'm Selling, but Who's Buying? The first step is getting buy-in from the entire staff. All employees need to understand that this is a crucial step in becoming a top-notch communication center.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Summer 2014

President’s Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
NENA 2014 Conference & Expo
William M. Mcmurray, Enp Scholarship
William E. Stanton Award
Abandoned 9-1-1 Calls: A Local and National Problem
Making Performance Appraisals Meaningful and Effective
Using a Telephone to Improve the Effectiveness of the Pre-Employment Selection Process
Wireless E9-1-1 Location: A Primer on Fixes, Uncertainty, And Confidence
Index of Advertisers/

The Call - Summer 2014