Chapter 16 - Measuring Performance: Assessment and Evaluation

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Evaluation

To determine the worth of, to find the amount or value of or to appraise. Synonymous with appraisal. Must be objective, seeking to identify strengths and weaknesses. For evaluation to be effective, the results must be used.

Purposes of Evaluation

Provides an objective assessment of how individual officers and managers are performing. It can provide an assessment of the entire agency to determine whether it is accomplishing its stated mission. Can provide information related to the budget, help defend against lawsuits, assess citizen satisfaction, and enhance recruiting and branding efforts.

Three Typical Forms of Inspections

1) Line inspections
2) Spot inspections
3) Staff inspections

Line Inspections

Day to day review of a subordinate's appearance. Such an inspection serves two purposes:
1) It lets the supervisor know that the subordinates uniform and equipment or business attire meet established standards
2) It provides supervisors a chance to demonstrate to subordinates that they are interested in how the subordinate looks and that the supervisors are going to adhere to established standards.
A type of line inspection often missed by supervisors is direct observation of officers performing day to day tasks by riding along with an officer from time to time.

Spot Inspections

Like line inspections but done by someone else other than the inspected person's chain of command. They are unannounced and give the inspectors a true picture of how things are actually being done.

Staff Inspections

Are more formal than line or spot inspections. Are proactive and complement and augment the line inspection. They usually have six objectives:
1) To determine whether the department's procedures and policies are being properly implemented.
2) To determine whether the department's procedures and policies are adequate to attain the department's goals
3) To determine whether the department's resources are being used fully and sensibly
4) To determine whether the department's resources are adequate to attain the department's goals.
5) To discover any deficiencies in integrity, training, morale, and supervision.
6) To help operating line units plan their line inspections.
Focus should be on how things are being done and not on the people who are doing them.

Performance Appraisal

Formal evaluation of on-the-job functioning; usually conducted once or twice a year. One of the most important types of evaluation. Immediate supervisors can most directly observe employee behavior at the level at which most required tasks are performed. If employees are transferred during a rating period, each responsible manager should put in writing the evaluation for the period of responsibility. Are not intended to cause undue burdens to managers. Most managers who do performance evaluations do not know how to do them correctly because they were never taught adequately. Main purpose of performance evaluation is to improve employee performance.

Informal Evaluations

Some experts think they are better than formal evaluations scheduled every six months. Evaluating at the time the behavior occurs is more apt to consider the behavior rather than the personality.

Formal Evaluations

May be in the form of checklists and rating forms. A performance appraisal is intended to represent an accurate, objective account of an employee's performance during a stated period. There are various ways of measuring performance, quality of task performance, productivity measurements, attendance records, or individual testing.

Standards

Targets to be met, including level of performance. The manager's job is to help everyone achieve his or her level of competence. Although some evaluation systems rank order employees, usually they should not be rated on a curve but individually. Standards may involve quality of performance, quantity and meeting established goals. In law enforcement, quality rather than quantity is most important. Standards allow supervisors to be fair and consistent in promotions, awards and discipline. They should be mission related, measurable, attainable, and practical to monitor. Numerical or quantity standards are easier to meet and evaluate, but many law enforcement tasks do not lend themselves to quantitative standards. Reports can also be used to measure performance. Activity reports indicate types and numbers of tasks performed while the number of citizens complaints or commendations also indicate performance quality.

Quotas

One controversial area is whether an agency uses a quota system to evaluate an officer's performance. Quotas should not be used as a motivational tool or to judge an officer's performance. The use of quotas elicits an atmosphere of quantity rather than quality.

Fitness For Duty Evaluations (FFDE)

Usually include physical and psychological fitness. Is very detailed and complicated and requires significant experience. Better left to human resource departments. Lack of fitness has led to on-duty injuries and illnesses, increases officers exposure to liability and engenders a loss of respect from the community based on their appearance. Mandatory physical fitness standards in law enforcement agency's is a very controversial topic. The principal reason for the lack of physical fitness standards was insufficient funding. Officers have an ethical obligation to each other to be physically fit and that failing to do so violates the police code of ethics. Fitness standards are available, many of which have passed court challenges. Law enforcement agencies that do not have fitness tests, standards, and programs may face charges of negligence in hiring, training, supervision, or retention.

Psychological Fitness

Issue of mental stability comes under the ADA whose primary benchmark is whether an individual's condition prevents him or her from performing "essential job functions". A psychological FFDE is a formal, specialized, examination of an employee that results from (1) objective evidence that an employee may be unable to safely or effectively perform a defined job and (2) a reasonable basis for believing that the cause may be psychological. It requires the informed consent of the person to be examined.

By the Numbers Evaluation

Makes evaluations more objective by using a numerical scale for each characteristic or dimension rated.

Promotability/Assignment Factors

An attempt to make evaluation "count for something" Evaluations should have consequences. Those who rate highly might be considered for promotions, special assignments, or pay raises. Those who rate below the acceptable range might be given counseling, training, a demotion, salary reduction, probation, or termination.

Pre-Evaluation

A procedure to allow those being evaluated to have input by completing a form outlining their accomplishments. Law enforcement managers responsible for evaluation must record all information as soon as possible after an incident is observed. This lessens the tendency for information gathered closer to the time of formal evaluation to overshadow information gathered months before. Some departments conduct quarterly or trimester reports. Such reports can be effective in forcing supervisors to record more frequently the progress and problems of those under their span of control making the annual performance evaluation more complete and easier to perform.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)

Specific characteristics for a position are determined; employees are then rated against these characteristics by on the job behaviors in each area. Usually done by the manager immediately above the employee in rank. Easy to perform this type of rating. Categories usually fall into performance, personal qualities, and ability. Some differ on whether to rank one employee at a time or rank one trait for every employee first before moving on to next trait. Poor and excellent ratings should be justified by performance evidence.

Group or Composite Ratings

Traits are rated by a group instead of one manager. Could be from various ranks, including patrol officer, with varied percentage weights being applied to the raters according to rank. Some department use a member of the personnel department to interview those associated with the employee and this interviewer makes the rating for the personnel file. This method involves more time.

Critical Incident Ratings

Based on critical incident logs that record all good and bad performances of employees. Time consuming but the information is of great value when the formal evaluation comes. All incidents discussed with employee. This method can reduce department liability, identify situations for more officer training, and keep track of outstanding performance for commendations.

Narrative, Essay or Description

Written description of what they observed. Can also combine numerical and written in the same form.

Overall Comparison Ratings

Managers review all their subordinates and then rate which one is top and which one is bottom. They then arrange the remainder on a comparative scale.

Self Evaluation

Becoming more popular. Subordinates rate themselves. There is value in people comparing how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them. In some cases, people tend to be more critical of themselves than external raters. They are used in conjunction with other ratings types.
Although not common, subordinates have as much right to rate their managers as managers have to rate their subordinates. Same rating method should be used though

Performance Interviews

Private, one on one discussions of the performance appraisal by manager and subordinate. Usually takes two to three hours prep time for each person rated. Interview should be between 45 minutes to 1 hour. Should start with a statement of purpose and make employee feel at ease. Appraisal form can serve as foundation of discussion. Ask employee about strengths and weaknesses. Encourage participation. Should be done in private. Criticism should be constructive but a positive approach should be taken. Explain precisely what is unsatisfactory about their performance and do not apologize, it is the manager's responsibility to correct subordinates. If problem is resolved at first meeting, follow up by monitoring. Congratulate the employee if the problem is corrected. If you cannot immediately resolve an issue, tell employee you will investigate further and get back to them in a day or two. Summarize meeting with a positive ending. If you agree to do certain things, follow through.

Twice A Year

Most common recommendation for frequency of performance appraisals and more frequently for employees performing below expectations. Appraisal interview should not be only time you talk with employees about performance, it must be continuous.
Appeals generally can be made to next highest manager and on up to department head. If there is a provision for an appeals board, decision of the board is usually final. Appeals should be within a specified time and hearings held as quickly as possible.

Problems of Performance Appraisals

Lack of faith in any appraisal system
Late inning results count most
The halo or horn effect
Inaccurate numerical or forced choice methods
Unfair percentage ratings
Rating personality rather than performance
Rater bias
Rating at the extremes

Lack of Faith in Appraisal System

A defeatist attitude can rise from excessively high expectations about performance evaluations. Perfection is not the goal, growth and development are. Any appraisal is better than no appraisal provided it is valid.

Valid

Appraisals that are well grounded and sound in which the factors rated are job related and the raters are trained.

Late Innings Results Count Most

When ratings are performed annually, performance closest to appraisal are better remembered and given more weight. Can work for or against employee.

Halo Effect

Tendency to rate on who performs above average in one area above average in all areas and vice versa.

Horn Effect

Allowing one negative trait to influence the rater negatively on other traits as well.

Inaccurate Numerical or Forced Choice Methods

Do not provide information needed for improving employee performance because they do not provide specifics about individuals. Managers are not put to test of knowing their employees.

Unfair Percentage Ratings

Occurs when raters must place a percentage of employees in the upper, middle, and lower third or ratings scales. Also occurs when they rate all employees at or near the average or middle of the scale. Employees should be rated on their actual performance, regardless of how many are in upper, middle, or lower.

Rating Personality rather than Performance

Raters tend to use personal prejudices to rate employees. May also rate on prejudice based on education, race, or other factors.

Rater Bias

Allowing one's personal biases to interfere with evaluation. For example, preferring men over women.

Rating at the Extremes

Some evaluators rate in extremes of too lenient or too strict. Especially true with marginal employees. Rather than terminate an employee who is liked, the manager gives a higher rating than the employee deserves.

Performance Evaluations Benefits

Organization as a whole by accurately assessing its human resources so informed decisions can be made about assignments.
Supervisors and Managers by giving them a clear picture of their subordinates abilities and allowing supervisors input into officer development.
Individual officers by letting each know exactly what is expected and identifying areas that need improvement
Managers must document officers' good work.

Evaluating the Department

Cannot be done by simply adding up individual performance appraisals or even the team evaluations. Law enforcement generally measure their results in terms of crime statistics and response times, such outcome measures have important disadvantages. Even if proper outcome measures are chosen, there is an enormous problem in measuring police contribution to the results. First, outcome measures do not directly measure the value of police. Second, clearance rates are notoriously unreliable and arrest data suspect.

Problems with Using Traditional Measures to Gauge Police Effectiveness

1) Low crime rates do not necessarily mean a police agency is efficient and effective
2) A high arrest rate does not necessarily show that the police are doing a good job.
3) A high ratio of police officers to citizens does not necessarily mean high quality police services.
4) Responding quickly to calls for services does not necessarily indicate that an agency is efficient.
*Instead, agencies should assess whether they are effective in fulfilling its responsibilities to the community and the value it provides to the community.

Three Conceptual Steps to Improving the System of Assessing Police performance

1) Must recognize the wide variety of valuable contributions that police departments make to their communities.
2) We must recognize that we are interested in economizing on the use of force and authority as well as money
3) We must recognize our interest in helping police departments strengthen their capabilities for the future.

Evaluating an Agency's Integrity

Most important factor regarding misconduct was that officers refrained from reporting misconduct of other officers out of concern for the welfare of their peers. Two practices to enhance integrity:
1) Consistently address relatively minor offense with the appropriate discipline.
2) Disclose the disciplinary process and resulting discipline to public scrutiny.

Accreditation

The process by which an institution or agency proves that it meets certain standards. Institutions that lack accreditation are often considered inferior.

Tangible Benefits of Accreditation

1) Controlled liability insurance costs
2) Fewer lawsuits and citizen complaints
3) Stricter accountability within the agency
4) Recognition of a department's ability to meet established standards.

Intangible Benefits of Accreditation

1) Pride
2) Recognition of excellence
3) Peer Approval

Criticisms of Accreditation

1) Expensive
2) Doesn't account for local and regional differences
3) Number of standards are simply overwhelming
4) Big brother overseeing activities
5) Most standards deal with departmental administration rather than with its mission.

Citizen Surveys

Mail is cheaper than phone. Also reduce biasing errors in phoned surveys caused by how the person doing the phoning comes across to the respondent. Major problem with mailed surveys is their low response rate. Might also help set organizational goals, identify department strengths and weaknesses, identify areas in need of improvement and training and motivate employees. Surveys found that citizen feedback did not alter officers performance, attitudes toward the communities they served or activities that put them in close contact with these communities.

Cybernetics

Suggests that organizations regulate themselves by gathering and reacting to information about their performance.

Focus Groups

Usually take three to four hours.
1) Citizens talk and management listens.
2) Brainstorm ways to work together, come up with 10 creative ideas in 10 minutes. Evaluate ideas and select those with merit
3) Focus on implementation, setting up teams or task forces to implement and track ideas.
Groups should be kept small, 8-12 participants, exclude competitors and have a facilitator

Descriptive Statistics

Focus on simplifying, appraising, and summarizing data.

Inferential Statistics

Focus on making statistically educated guesses from a sample of data.

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