Human Resource Controls: Appraisals, Discipline, Observations & Training

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  • 0:05 HR Controls
  • 1:20 Performance Appraisals
  • 4:40 Discipline Policy
  • 6:00 Employee Observation
  • 7:03 Training
  • 9:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

This lesson will explain various human resource controls, including employee appraisals, discipline, observations and types of training as part of the management process.

What Are Human Resources Controls?

Human resources controls are controls that focus on employee behavior, employee performance and developing and upholding policies and procedures. They are part of human resource management, which serves to plan for, recruit and train employees to meet organizational needs and respond to changes in the external environment.

There are several human resources controls used in human resources management to meet organizational goals:

  • Performance appraisals
  • Discipline policies
  • Employee observations
  • Employee training

Let's look at how Mr. Sheckles, the manager of Dollar Bank, uses human resources controls to hire, train and retain the right people. Employees perform many different jobs at the bank. There are bankers, accountants, tellers, secretaries, mailroom clerks and janitors all working together to meet organizational goals.

Performance Appraisals

The first human resource control we will focus on is the performance appraisal. A performance appraisal is the process that evaluates an employee's performance against the standards set by the organization, documents the performance and yields measurable information that can be used to provide valuable feedback to the employee.

There are several different types of performance appraisals, each with pros and cons. Let's explore a few to see which system might work best for each department at Dollar Bank.

Rating Scales

Rating scales are evaluation systems that assign the employee a rating or a score for performance and behavior. This appraisal system is easy to understand and can be done quickly. Mr. Sheckles utilizes rating scales for employees like bank janitors, money counters and landscapers. This method works well for this level of employee because their positions are task-oriented rather than people-oriented. He looks for specific behaviors, like attendance, and performance on tasks like cleaning desks and counters.

However, there is a downside to this type of appraisal system. Since it is based on an absolute ranking, it doesn't take situational factors into consideration. For example, an employee who has been absent from work for a week due to an illness may receive a low ranking on attendance but have a very good excuse for the absence.

Narrative Appraisal

The narrative appraisal is an essay-type assessment that offers positive and negative comments about an employee. While this system of evaluation contains much information for the employee to use to better do his job, it is also written by one person. This can make it very subjective and open to bias. Also, this type of appraisal relies on the writer's ability to express his appraisal facts clearly and fairly. However, it still tends to be well-suited for top-level management because their work is not task-based in the same way as the work of a landscaper or bank cleaner. Top-level managers are hired to think and strategize.

However, not all top-level managers will be pleased with their appraisal. An employee may feel that it lacks specific details or a comprehensive list of appraised behaviors and performances. Other managers may feel that the information isn't accurate or fair.

360 Degree Appraisal

The 360 degree appraisal is an appraisal done on an employee by people both inside and outside the organization, like colleagues, customers, subordinates and supervisors. Because so many people are involved in the employee appraisal, it can provide a diverse array of feedback.

At Dollar Bank, the 360 degree appraisal is beneficial for tellers, customer service agents and receptionists. Because the workers deal mostly with customers, Mr. Sheckles believes this will give him a better assessment of employee performance because the evaluation includes the opinions of customers, amongst others.

However, not all parties involved have the best interest of the company in mind. Even worse, the appraiser may have the best interest of the employee at heart, but may not be aligned with the company's interest. And the appraisal may not always be accurate because not everyone involved understands the mission and vision of the organization.

Discipline Policy

Now, let's explore our second type of control, discipline policy. Discipline policies are policies that address employee behaviors and performance. Discipline policies involve corrective action steps to redirect behavior or enhance the performance of employees who are not meeting goals.

Type 'A' Offenses:

First Offense: Verbal warning; note in employee file

Second Offense: Written warning; note in employee file

Third Offense: Two-day suspension; note in employee file

Fourth Offense: Termination

It is important that each group or type of offense be clearly stated because different discipline for different offenses is necessary and will vary by severity. For example, calling in sick the day after a holiday is a Type 'A' offense at Dollar Bank. It should not carry the same penalty as drinking on the job.

Mr. Sheckles did not always have a discipline policy. In the early days of Dollar Bank, Mr. Sheckles allowed employees plenty of slack. One of his biggest issues then was employee absences. They were out of control. In response, he put a progressive discipline policy into place. Now, employees understand the offense and the corresponding punishment.

Employee Observation

The third type of control is employee observation. An employee observation is a physical observation of employee performance. Observations occur while the employee is performing his or her work tasks. The manager may observe the employee throughout the workday or observe only certain tasks to determine whether the employee is proficient in performing the job. At Dollar Bank, this can be done by shadowing a banker while he assists a customer with opening a new checking account. By observing the actual work while it is being performed, Mr. Sheckles will be able to provide feedback on positive and negative performance based on his observations.

While employee observations are useful to determine whether performance is up to par, it can also be very stressful for the employee being observed. The employee may not know exactly what the observer is looking for. It is also nerve-racking because employees may feel that their every move is being documented. One small mistake could prove disastrous to their evaluation.


The final type of human resource control is training. Training is a process of identifying needed skills to perform a job or task and then developing a plan to teach the skills to employees. Training can be in the form of skills training and professional development.

Skills training is training employees to perform a certain task by teaching them the necessary skills. For example, tellers at Dollar Bank may learn how to use a new computer system or a new telephone system.

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