Performance appraisal is a valuable tool for enhancing employee performance in the hospitality industry. This paper will discuss two possible performance appraisal processes for the position of a guest service agent. The main responsibilities of the position include greeting guests, check in and check out of the hotel and responding to customer requests. What is important, two tools were selected for the purpose of analysis: 360 degree appraisal and guest appraisals. Both methods include guest surveys, which can help to make evaluations more convincing, accurate and objective.
360 degree appraisal or 360 feedback is a performance appraisal, which collects feedback on an employer from multiple sources, including peers, customers and managers. In fact, the primary purpose of this performance appraisal is employee development (Campion, Campion, & Campion, 2015, p. 85). Moreover, this strategy is applied to enhance performance management. In addition, organizations prefer to use 360 degree feedback to increase motivation of their employees and their participation in teamwork. Other popular purpose of the method represents enhancing relationships in the team because peers can express their real opinions.
In fact, the performance appraisal process involves a few steps. The first step is creating a questionnaire. Normally, the developers of the questionnaires add items, which are rated using the point scale from four to seven. These items might be applied to evaluate various aspects of job performance, particularly, some questionnaires measure the level of communication, leadership, or social skills. Moreover, the questionnaires normally contain at least one open-ended question. Actually, the typical number of items ranges from 50 to100. The respondents are expected to spend approximately one minute on each item. The second step represents ensuring confidentiality of the respondents. For instance, the feedback ratings of a few participants might be combined. In addition, the written answers can be summarized. The main purpose of such approaches is to hide the name of the participant because some people might be afraid of the reaction of the person they evaluate. The third step involves offering some orientation regarding the performance appraisal process. Normally, the appraisal process presupposes applying one or a few questionnaires, confidential data, and participation of the people from various areas of the company. Thus, some orientation is necessary to make a process become more accurate. The main components of the orientation involve explaining the participants the nature of a 360 degrees appraisal and the reasons, why it should be applied in their company. The respondents could also review the samples of the questionnaires. In addition, the appraisal performance process includes distributing questionnaires and analyzing the feedback results. Moreover, the respondents may either complete the printed forms or leave the feedback on the website of an organization. The possible types of data analysis represent Performance Dimension Summary, the summary of the company’s strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for further development. In fact, the appraisal performance process ends with the creation and distribution of feedback results. The employees should be able to review the results. Normally, the data is presented in the form of comparisons, so, the employees can see the average ratings from their peers, customers and supervisors.
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The 360 degree appraisal would definitely enhance the employment performance. First, this appraisal process is able to analyze objectively the employees’ performance, which allows to determine the aspects that require improvement (Woods, Johanson, & Sciariani, 2012). For example, the evaluation might find that the person has weak communication and teamwork skills. Second, the evaluation might encourage employees to work better because they understand that each person they interact with can have an influence on their career (Campion, Campion, & Campion, 2015, p. 86). For example, the employees are more responsible, while working with their colleagues on some projects and serving the customers. Besides, this strategy might make employees believe that the company values their opinions, which is also positive for motivation and employment performance (O’Boyle, 2013, p. 201). Another factor is the anonymous character of the evaluation that allows the employees to criticize or praise each other (Kaur, 2013). This aspect is beneficial for the performance because the staff members obtain objective information about their performance and relationships with colleagues.
According to Robert Woods, Johanson, and Sciariani (2012), the feedback process involves such kinds of biases as leniency errors, severity errors, central tendency errors, recency errors, past anchoring errors and hallo errors. The 360 degree appraisal helps to reduce the influence of all the errors. In particular, obtaining feedback from different sources reduces the risks of such a situation, when the respondents rate the person too positively or too negatively, because the customers, peers and managers have various kinds of relationships with the employee. Therefore, summarizing feedback results allows making a balanced performance appraisal. Besides, the 360 degree appraisal reduces the past anchoring errors because the peers and the customers do not usually know the results of the employee’s past ratings. In addition, the customers, the peers and the managers usually value different performance dimensions, thus, the amount of hallo errors decreases.
Guest appraisals involve leaving feedback by the customers. The purpose of such a performance appraisal process represents employee development, fixing any significant issues experienced by the guests while using the services of the organization, enhancing the organizational processes and understanding customer needs to improve their overall experience. However, the primary purpose of the guest appraisals is analyzing the experience of the customer interaction with the employee and the guest views about the quality of the customer service (Woods, Johanson, & Sciariani, 2012). In general, guest appraisals are frequently applied in hospitality industry. The restaurants and hotels ask their guests to leave feedback in various forms, such as post visit questionnaire, comment cards, or public interviews.
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The process of conducting performance appraisal for this method depends on the form of leaving feedback. For example, the HR specialists can just ask guests what they love, what they do not like and what they would like to experience while using the services of the organization. The next step is summarizing all the responses and making the list of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development of the employee. The appraisal performance process for postvisit surveys is similar as for a 360 degree feedback. In fact, the organizational HR specialist develops a questionnaire by creating items, which are rated using the point scale. The questionnaire also contains some open-ended questions. All the items are related to the employee performance. Moreover, it is necessary to offer the guests to complete the forms. The final step involves analyzing the feedback results and informing employees about them.
The guest appraisals help to enhance employee performance in a few ways. First, knowing the customer satisfaction causes the growth of employee satisfaction, which positively affects the overall performance (Frey, Bayon, & Totzek, 2013, p.503). Second, the employees have a better understanding of the customer expectations, so, they start to satisfy the specific needs of the guests (Wei, Miao, & Huang, 2013, p.316). Third, the employees begin to realize their weaknesses. This factor helps them to determine the areas, which they need to develop. Finally, the guests represent “relatively neutral third part”; thus, the employees respond better to their critics and try to avoid the related issues in the future (Latham, Ford, & Tzabbar, 2014, p.224). For example, the customers might say that the receptionist is not friendly enough, which would motivate the employee to modify the behavior.
The guests usually do not have close relationships with the employees. Thus, this fact helps to reduce leniency, severity or central tendency errors. Besides, the customers have fewer reasons to consider the previous ratings. Moreover, the guests regularly do not know about the previous ratings of the employee, thus, the amount of the past anchoring errors is smaller. Besides, the customers usually have various backgrounds, so, the risks of basing rating on one positive characteristic are also lower.
According to the website of Hilton Wordwide (n. d.), a guest service agent is responsible for greeting guests, check in and check out, responding to customer requests, resolving their complaints and delivering messages to guests. This job description demonstrates that the guest service agent interacts closely with the guests, and customer satisfaction is a major indicator of the employee performance of this position. Therefore, guest appraisals were selected for this position. The 360 degree appraisal is also appropriate for the position of the guest service agent because the customers cannot cover all the aspects in the employee performance; thus, feedback of the peers and the supervisors helps to receive a more balanced picture.
The main criterion for measuring the performance of the position is the way the guest service agent executes his/her duties. In general, it is reasonable to make evaluations of such performance factors as administration, knowledge of work, communication, teamwork, problem solving, expense management, independent action, leadership, guest responsiveness, personal appearance, dependability, and employee responsiveness. While assessing such factors, it is also necessary to consider the corporate values and the mission of the organization. Thus, Hilton Worldwide (n. d.) requires the employees to appreciate such values as “hospitality, integrity, leadership, teamwork, ownership”. Besides, Hilton encourages the employees to deliver quality, productivity, customer focus and flexibility.
The 360 degree appraisal requires completing surveys by the peers, the supervisors and the customers. Then, their responses are summarized and analyzed. The feedback results serve as a basis for performance appraisal. The guest appraisals have a similar way of data collection. In fact, the only difference is the fact that the organization only uses the evaluations of guests.
Hilton or other organization of such type should choose a 360 degree appraisal because it provides a more balanced picture of the employee performance. In general, this performance appraisal process has a wide range of benefits for the organization. First, this process is quite comprehensive and credible.
Second, the evaluations of peers reinforce self-development, because the respondents have enough skills and abilities to assess the work of their colleague. Third, a 360 degree appraisal improves the responsibility of personnel in relationship to their guests. People with low-esteem become more motivated as a result of the feedback from other people. Finally, the participation of personnel in the performance appraisal process makes the culture of the company become more honest. However, a 360 degree appraisal requires more time and effort than the guest appraisals, because it is necessary to collect data from many sources. Besides, the peers and the supervisors can be less objective than the guests in their evaluations due to their personal relationships with the employee.
In conclusion, the most appropriate performance appraisal process for the guest service agent, who works in the hotel, is a 360 degree feedback. This method allows gathering a more objective data, which is necessary for the significant improvement of the performance. Besides, the method helps to reduce biases. At the same time, the 360 degree appraisal involves a greater use of time and resources than the second method under consideration. Besides, the peers and the supervisors might be less objective than the guests that would reduce the accuracy of the appraisal process.