LEARNING gains essay assignment was discussed in last week’s column. The essay is a feedback to the lecturer on the extent in which student learning outcomes (SLOs) have been understood. SLOs are part of an outcomes-based education (OBE) syllabus prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Herewith is another type of assignment where graduate students express their learning gains. A student may choose to synthesize a book or journal article from the references listed in the syllabus, and from there draw out his/her learning gains. References in the syllabus are up to date and do match the topics that lead to the SLOs. Class discussion on these gains would reflect the depth of understanding.
University constituents classified. Two broad groups may sum up university constituents. Those in the academic and academic support group and those in general services. The learning gains presented herewith are from a book on human Resource management and development. The then Personnel Office these days could be the Human Resource Management or the Human Resource Management and Development Office. Whichever is the label, one task is common to the HR—the office conducts a performance evaluation of each non-academic constituent. For performance of the academics, the HR coordinates with the VP for Academic Affairs.
Learning gains from syllabus references. With social media and web resources so dominant these days, class members would choose to nestle their mobile on their laps, visit FB or skype chat rather than listen to a boring lecture or a dull student presentation on assigned topics. Indeed, today’s technology demands of lecturers to double efforts to introduce spirited intellectual discourse to make class sessions more fulfilling for students. Could authors of web references in course syllabi become the students’ virtual experts who can deepen students’ insights on the course topics? In a Cultural Diversity in the Workplace class of master students in human resource management, I assign the class to choose any two from the syllabus references published no more than three years away. Students synthesize any two journal articles/a book of their choice and discuss their learning gains. They relate their insights on the human resource operations in their respective organizations. The rest of this write-up, mostly taken verbatim from a submitted assignment, shares with our readers a synthesis and the learning gains/insights. The students’ experience/observation on the HR office in their respective organizations is drawn for class discussion only; hence is excluded in this write-up. Ethics dictate that such topics be exclusively only for class members.
HR methods and processes demonstrating HR cares. From the references listed in the course syllabus, an article chosen for the assignment was by Neil Boyd and Brooke Gessner, “Human resource performance metrics: methods and processes that demonstrate you care” published in Cross-cultural Management (pp. 251-273, vol. 20, 2013). Herewith are parts of the synthesis class member Jean P. Boo, submitted. “The article discusses how different human resource systems, practices and appraisals affect employees. HR performance appraisals typically only consider how much an employee contributes to organizational goals and objectives and how employee productivity affects the company’s bottom line. Often ignored/overlooked in the appraisal process is employees’ well-being. Recently is a growing concern on how HR practices align with an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). One suggestion is to include CSR in the recruitment process to attract more talented applicants because individuals establish their self-image based on groups they belong to, compared with other groups.” “. . . A company’s positive image will then reflect to the employee, thereby reflecting on him/her also a positive image. The article further discusses performance appraisal techniques and how these benefit the employees and referred to as ‘Kaplan and Norton’s (1992) human-resource balanced scorecard.” This scorecard “gives equal weight to employee-performance based on his/her contribution to achieving organizational outcomes and his/her well-being . . ..” Note that “appraisals based on evaluation by supervisors with no chance of employees contributing in the process subjugate employees to some social problems.” The assignment proceeded to describe such problems as 1) “distributive — wherein employees feel they are not receiving appropriate outcomes in monetary terms and recognition and of unmet expectations; or 2) procedural — the perceived fairness or unfairness of the appraisal procedures.” To avoid having employees “feel a certain injustice appraisal-wise,” the suggestion was to ensure that the “appraisal be accurate and conforms to standards.” “The 21st century needs many changes to improve HR practices particularly in the field of performance appraisals. Employees must be empowered to help them contribute not only to organizational success but also to their own personal success.”
Learning gains. Boo listed her learning gains. 1. To motivate employees to develop a sense of ownership of the process “involve them design their evaluation tool to give them autonomy.” 2. “In HEI’s, most HR performance evaluations focus on employees’ educational attainment and are given maximum points because most accrediting bodies” “require masters and the like” (compliant with CHED’s academic degree requirements for college teaching). However, “in most companies, productivity normally is the main criteria.” 3. Since “people want their own image to be viewed positively, organizations should make known their respective corporate social responsibility (CSR). This will likely attract a better pool of talents.” 4. “Employees proud of their companies will tend to stay longer.” (I would suggest that HR officers collect organizational success stories and disseminate these to newly hired employees.) 5. Nowadays, bias of HEI employees to “the social responsibility dimension of benefits, makes them accept lower pay because the benefits outweigh the wage discrepancies — such as free education for children” (and free/discounted tuition and fees of further degrees for themselves) “healthcare insurance, opportunity for community service, etc.” 6. “Distributive, procedural, and social justice problems could (spawn) problems on unfair performance metrics such as evaluator bias, unclear standards, unmet expectations, etc.” 7. It’s best practice to empower employees to take part in their evaluation. Known as “a 360-degree system, this type of appraisal measures feedback from a variety of stakeholders including the employee himself, thus providing the much-needed self-evaluation.” 8. “Performance previews, (joint goals development between managers and employees) give employees a chance to set their own goals in partnership with company goals.” 9. “Regular meetings between employee and management to discuss ways of appraisal enhancement—better known as the Atlassian system—is a best practice.” Best for HR officers to take care for “the process not to become rote.” 10. “Social networking, central to our world today, may be the emerging tool that HR practitioners can use in performance evaluation.” (Ms Boo is the Director, Cultural Affairs and Coordinator, Student Recruitment and Promotions at the Liceo de Cagayan U.)