L'auteur se propose de décrire les caractéristiques principales d'un plan d'évaluation du mérite personnel qu'il a récemment établi dans une entreprise non-syndiquée de la ville de Québec. En guise d'introduction, il définit les objectifs et décrit les méthodes de l'évaluation du mérite personnel, particulièrement les méthodes dites "analytiques". L'étude se termine par une analyse détaillée de la méthode analytique utilisée dans l'entreprise ci-haut mentionnée et de la relation entre cette méthode et la structure des salaires.
Merit rating tries to discover and grade the characteristics of each employee, to estimate the relative value of each one's personality in relation to his task. It has to do with the carrying out of the task and the qualities and aptitudes which the latter requires. Merit rating aims at certain well-defined objectives, such as:
To increase the knowledge that the managers have of their subordinates in order to help them and improve them.
To gather information which will be useful in a systematic, fair and well-directed promotion or transfer programme.
To give a basis for calculating merit bonuses or salary increases. This objective we are above all interested in here.
To attain these objectives of relative merit, it is advisable to have a reliable method, and that is what the "objective classification of personnel" systems are aiming at.
DEFINITION AND CHOICE OF METHOD
1 ) Overall Method of Classification
Each person is appraised, as a whole, by comparison with persons occupying comparable or similar positions, at the various levels and in the same kind of work. It is a method often used to grant year-end increases.
Its application must be clear-cut, since it leaves too many possibilities of interference by subjective factors.
2) Method of Output Measurement
This method is used especially in production work for which it is possible to fix production standards in quantity, time and quality. It serves to establish bonus wage systems, but it is not fundamentally determinative for a differentiation of basic wages guaranteed to employees.
3) Analytical Method
This method has to do with an objective grading by standards, that is, with a comparison of men among themselves on the basis of a certain number of standards, defined in terms of the tradition of the enterprise and the characteristic work demands. A single, overall rating is here replaced by a series of more simple — and consequently more objective — notations. The results thus obtained have a certain accuracy and are understandable by those concerned. This method will here be dealt with at greater length. The general characteristics of such a method will first be defined; their practical implications will then be analyzed.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANALYTICAL METHOD
Such characteristics apply to all the persons in an enterprise regardless of their position. In fact, the personal requirements vary with the kind of work done and most rating sheets used are separate for men holding:
rank and file positions;
This method tries to give objective bases for the classification in order to permit coherent results.
The breaking up into standards results in a certain arbitrariness, but has the advantage of explaining clearly the value of important items.
The choice of the standards must, however, follow certain rules:
Avoid standards that have been used to define and qualify the job itself.
Retain only those standards which are easy to define and grade.
Avoid duplication and overlapping of standards.
If carefully applied, the analytical method presents itself as being: exact, faithful, understandable, flexible and valid.
2) Choice of Standards
It is usually necessary to distinguish between two types of standards:
Those based on personal merit, that is, those implying the use of knowledge and skill;
Those based on the objective situation, such as: health, age, education.
In practice, the chronological order of the standards will not follow necessarily and solely these two categories. The total number of standards will vary, in accordance with the methods used, between 10 and 25.
3) Weighting of the Standards
This presents itself under a less systematic form than for the job evaluation itself. The importance of the different standards varies in accordance with their influence on the future of the enterprise. It is necessary, therefore, to establish a relative weight for each one of the factors or groups of factors in accordance with the importance that is placed on it by the management and the experts consulted. To be specific, we say that the weighting of each factor presents itself in accordance with an exponential law, each factor showing a normal distribution.
We could not finish this short review of the general characteristics of the analytical method of merit rating without specifying some essential conditions for securing an indispensable objectivity.
a) For a fair application of the plan to an analytical method of promotion, the facts brought out must have been noted at the right time, and those concerned advised at the same time or as soon as possible after the fact has been noted.
c) Beware of the halo effect which has a tendency to give for each standard points very close to the first points given, or, even to refer oneself to the overall impression that one has of the subject.
d) Avoid any stereotyped judgment which would tend to put everyone either in the middle or in the same narrow zone of notation.
In a practical way, the grading by each standard may be obtained by applying the procedure of investigating marginal cases, the best and the worst, or again by making comparisons by pairs; the grading by rank, increasing or decreasing, also permits an easier rating.
APPLICATION OF AN ANALYTICAL METHOD OF RATING PERSONAL MERIT
The preliminary analysis of the position and working conditions allows us to define a certain number of standards.
These standards have been classified in four distinct groups which from the outline of the method.
GROUP 1, or seniority group, in the enterprise and in the position.
GROUP 2, or situation group, health, age, education.
GROUP 3, or personal merit group. This concerns the activity of the subject in the exercise of his function.
GROUP 4, or outside situation group. It takes into consideration a certain number of factors which, without being determinative, have or may have an influence on the behaviour of the subject.
For the total of the groups, the notation is established in points. Group 1 has a special notation. In this notation, the years of seniority in a given enterprise do not have the same value as the years of seniority in the same position in another enterprise.
All the other standards making up groups 2, 3 and 4 have each a very distinct notation scale, but based on quite the same principle. Finally, each group takes a corrected importance by means of a group coefficient which acts as the weight multiplier.
Let us note, finally, that in the establishment of notation scales the widest possible differentiation is looked for.
THE METHOD IN PRACTICE
In the first place, a typical notation is arbitrarily determined for each standard. The total of these points determines, on the chart, the profile of the position. It corresponds to a maximum standard as it represents a combination of qualities of which the balance of respective values is required by the position.
This outline thus established offers two noteworthy advantages:
It provides a starting point in standardizing the subjects.
It emphasizes the qualities to be encouraged, or points out the weaknesses to be avoided.
The stable information, for each subject, is then inserted; we deal here with characteristics independent from any subjective judgment or personal appraisal.
RATING AND CLASSIFICATION
The choice and the number of the raters must be given very special attention. It is recommended that as many people as possible do the rating. The selection of these people should be made after considering two major points.
The rater is "placed" in a position to be able to appreciate or form a judgment without necessitating the help of a third person or a document.
His understanding of the importance of the problem must be sufficient to guarantee healthy cooperation and objectivity.
Each rater, for each employee considered and for each factor rated, gives an estimate of which the numerical rating is determined by the appropriate scale.
The role of the advisor is that of a guide. He does not, in any case, suggest a mark, but he helps to define it more accurately. The points thus awarded remain in force during the whole duration of the work. The total of the points obtained is recapitulated.
The averages being established, they are re-copied on the individual analysis sheets. It is then possible to trace the profile of the subject. The differences of the outline compared to the previously-mentioned standard then stand out clearly.
RESULTS OF THE METHOD
It is interesting to know first of all to what these differences — positive or negative on the curve — correspond.
1) Positive Differences
They correspond to natural or developed qualities which must be recognized and encouraged.
2) Negative Differences
These differences must be analyzed carefully because they are taken from situations having a determining importance in the behaviour of the subject. The proper knowledge of these situations should permit corrective action on the part of management.
In order to facilitate the general interpretation of the outline, it is suggested that the negative differences be coloured in red.
NUMERICAL RESULTS AND RATING RESULTS
The search for a relative weighting of each of the factors or group of factors, made possible by the total numerical results obtained, has permitted the mathematical determining of what has been named group coefficient or weight multiplicator.
They are respectively:
Group 1, Group coefficient x 1
Group 2, " " x 4
Group 3, " " x 5
Group 4, " " x 2
The problem, which may be reduced to a simple series of operations is modified, because in addition to a rating classification, the plan tries to find an estimate of the relative differences. These relative differences between employee must, in order to be of significance, be given in percentage. This result is obtained by the use, in making up the final formula, of a number called "base", calculated mathematically. Keeping the same units, for the practical case which interests us in this study, it is 1,000 points.
According to the final formula, we will have as results: For the maximum standard outline,
Base 1,000 points
Group 1, 640 points
Group 2, 67 x 4 268 points
Group 3, 104 x 5 520 points
Group 4, 87 x 2 174 points
Total 2,602 points; we carry this to the next highest unit of 10.
Final total 2,610 points.
This formula, applied to each employee, then gives us the following result:
Maximum total Employee A 2,439 points
Minimum total Employee B 1,815 points
Total minimum set for the position 1,700 points
If we consider the results of the rating and the relative results, we find that the rating, in its general scale, is situated between 1,700 and 2,500 points, which give a maximum possible variation of 46% more than the minimum. For the total of the employees, the difference varies between 25% and 38%.
APPLICATION OF THIS PLAN TO A PROMOTION SCHEME
This possibility of promotion comprised between 25% and 38% and in the extreme case of 46% is a very satisfactory result. It is fair, balanced, workable and certainly corresponds to the normal ambition of those interested.
The possible promotion of a man, following this plan, is made up of two factors.
1 ) The seniority factor — it is automatic and independent of the employee. It is defined by the application of the seniority scale.
2) The personal factor — it depends on the employee. It must record the results obtained by the effort and will to improve. It is therefore a real potential of promotion on which the employee may draw.
It is suggested, for the practical realization of a promotion plan, to have a meeting of those the raters and the advisers every three or four months. During these meetings, the improvements or faults are registered, and the individual record of the employee is then marked with the comments and the points scored. At the end of the year, the average of these three or four estimate will be established and will determine the promotion points.
MERIT RATING AND SALARY
A transposition of the average normal salary with the total points obtained by an average employee permits us to set a point value in dollar wages. The adoption of such a formula is tempting as it offers many advantages. We have in fact; on the one hand, relative differences of which the percentages are satisfactory, and on the other hand, a promotion plan based essentially on seniority and each one's personal and professional improvement.
A quick application of the formula thus established will prove its extreme ease of adaptation.
If we take an employee of whom the present total is 1,950 points, in order to reach the maximum (already obtained) of 2,450, his possible promotion potential will be 2,450 — 1,900 = 500 points.
By placing a dollar wage value on points on a basis of $1.60 per point, for example, we shall then have:
Present wage 1,950 X 1-60 = 3,120.00 $60.00 weekly.
Wage with maximum 2,450 X 160 = 3,920.00 $75.00 weekly.
promotion, which is 25% more than present wage.
Independently of the flexibility of adaptation of this formula, its practical aspect may also be mentioned,;f it is necessary to re-value wages. The relative differences are always maintained and the formula keeps its value by simply placing a new value on the point.
This formula, evidently, cannot be granted a possible character of generalization, but it may be considered as being a solution to a particular problem.
One of the fundamental rules of experimenting is to beware of haste, of natural enthusiasm which might carry us to premature and sweeping conclusions. Our conclusions must be strictly limited to the confines of experience and its particular conditions.
We owe it to ourselves to consider merit rating as a science needing and still asking for experimentation. Its nature, its aims and its methods are defined and analyzed constantly. Its practice must therefore be controlled, and the results obtained must carry in their success.their participation in the building up of an atmosphere of confidence which will authorize and encourage its upholders and propagandists to persevere without respite.
It is in this spirit, that the work of this study must be judged and interpreted; as it only makes up one stone in the general construction of which the efforts are devoted to the benefit of the business concerns.
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TOUYER, ROGER-M., Certificats Généraux, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (Paris), Consultant en Organisation Scientifique du travail, Québec.