The personnel cycle shown at Challenges represents the basis for some important consulting topics of ISPA consult which orientate towards the needs of our clients:

Relevance of the performance assessment for companies and employees

  • In case of piece work, the performance of an employee is appraised by measuring the generated quantities (number of units) or the elapsed time, in any other case, especially among white-collar employees, by the performance assessment given by the line manager.
  • Performance assessment is an important, generally accepted management tool according to the saying "Don't judge people by their ancestry, judge them by their accomplishments." (Perikles, ca 500-429 B.C.). However, the performance assessment has to meet certain quality criteria in order to be acceptable to the assessee.
  • The performance assessment includes significant information for the employee:
    • positioning: "knowing how I'm doing"
    • interpersonal perception: "knowing how the supervisor assesses me"
    • future performance: "knowing where I could perform better"
    • development prospect: "knowing where and how I could improve"


Overview of ISPA consulting focuses

    ISPA bietet ein geschlossenes Beratungskonzept für die Einführung bzw. Weiterentwicklung, wenn es um die Leistungsbeurteilung der Mitarbeiter im Betrieb geht.

    Fig.: ISPA Consulting Concept Performance Assessment

    a) Design of the performance assessment system

    • assessment criteria: According to which criteria should the performance of an employee over a specific period (e.g. one calendar year) be assessed?
      • grade of target achievement (with preceding target agreements)
      • traditional list of criteria such as "work quality and quantity", "ability to work under pressure", "accuracy and reliability", etc. according to collective agreement (e.g. collective wage agreement for the metal and electrical industry, sector benchmarks or company-specific criteria selection)
      • behaviour- and customer-oriented criteria according to recent research results
    • levels of assessment: How many levels of assessment are intended for each criteria and how are they to be defined? There has to be an acceptable proportion between an all-too rough and an extremely subtle differentiation. The precise and doubtless definition of each level of assessment is of high importance.
    • criteria weighting: How is each of the assessment criteria to be weight regarding its significance for the company? In case of imbalance, the weighting factors for the specific criteria or, where required, for the agreed goals have to be determined.

    Note: Also in sectors with performance assessment regulated by the collective agreement, each company has a discretionary decision about which system of performance assessment is to be used for which target group. In that case, the companies can engage external consulting support, if required.

    b) execution of a performance assessment

    • reviewer training in the run-up to the performance assessment
    • core aims: qualification of the reviewers (executives) regarding the appropriate handling of the performance assessment system and the professional interviewing during the assessment discussion with the employee
    • practical-organisational preparation of the assessment discussion (date, duration, location, etc.)
    • discussion preparation of the reviewer and the reviewee, by the use of a guideline for the response to standard questions, if required, e.g.
      • Who is the responsible reviewer?
      • What is the aim of the assessment discussion, for which purposes and follow-up action are the assessment results to be used?
      • Which documents and forms should be available at the beginning of the discussion and how should they be designed?
      • How can the course of discussion be reasonably structured in order to be of use to both parties?
      • Which results are expected, how should they be documented, who is to be informed about them and when?
      • What happens if the reviewee objects and does not accept the supervisor's assessment?
    • decision, whether and how the assessment discussion should be connected with other important appraisal interviews (e.g. objectives, individual development measures, bonus provision) or whether separate meetings should be arranged

    c) Follow-up action

    • individual bonus provision depending on the results of the performance assessment considering the regulations of the collective agreement (e.g. the collective wage agreements of the metal and electrical industry)
    • conjunction of the performance assessment with individual personnel development

    d) Target agreements

    • agreement on goals for the following assessment period directly subsequent to the assessment discussion or in a separate target agreement discussion between the supervisor and the employee
    • elaboration of binding rules for target agreement discussions analogue to the assessment discussion
    • preparation/training of the concerned persons for the target agreement discussion

    About the relevance of remuneration

    Who is not familiar with the nice saying "Everything depends on money, and everyone pursues money." Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe (1749-1832)

    Nowadays we see things more differentiated: remuneration alone does not motivate; still the following applies: there has to be an appropriate pay, no matter how interesting or diversified the work task may be.

    New development trends

    • adjustment of the basic remuneration to new work requirements and new regulations according to the collective agreement
    • expansion of the performance-linked remuneration components and new performance appraisal methods
    • expansion of the success-related remuneration components
    • more options for employees ("cafeteria remuneration")
    • connection of remuneration concepts and working time flexibilisation
    • other development trends such as minimum wage and combined wages discussion, total compensation packages, international comparability of remunerations in connection with increasing globalisation, etc.

     Consulting focus of ISPA consult - an overview

    • system check remuneration: appraising the remuneration regulations in the company or in departments
    • remuneration evaluation: criteria-based evaluation of remuneration systems or remuneration components according to strengths and weaknesses
    • remuneration arrangements: adjustment or redevelopments of remuneration systems or remuneration components 

      a) System check remuneration

      • need for consulting in case of fragmentary adoption of the formal and actually practiced remuneration regulations and concepts in the individual departments of the company
      • by use of the system check, the formal and practiced remuneration regulations and concepts in the individual departments of the company are to be documented as completely as possible and according to standardised criteria
      • usually the system check merely provides the basis for the following evaluation

      b) Remuneration evaluation

        • There is a need for consulting, because in many cases the target incentive aims are not, or only insufficiently, rejected and no generally accepted evaluation criteria are available. The call for remuneration conform to strategy often cannot be honoured, because the business strategy is lacking or unknown.
        • It is the aim of remuneration evaluation to develop a target condition of remuneration, where necessary with the aid of Best Practice examples (Benchmarking), which can be opposed to the ascertained actual condition. The need for action, as basis for recommendations regarding the adjustment or redesigning of the remuneration system, results from this variance analysis. 

          c) Remuneration design

          • As and when required by the client, ISPA consult participates in the remuneration design through process and/or content consulting with the desired intensity. It is recommended to manage remuneration design as a project and to apply the instruments and methods of the project management.
          • During the process consulting, ISPA consult only acts as the process supervisor, who methodically and organisationally oversees the project's progress from analysing the problem over generating alternatives to the point of evaluating the alternatives and finally coming to a decision, e.g. by facilitating the brainstorming workshops.
          • During the content consulting, ISPA consult is asked to actively contribute to the content of the workshops, for example by preparing drafts and discussion papers, by compiling recommendations for action and/or by actively participating in the discussion during project meetings.

          New development trends

          • request for more professional personnel development in companies based on the noticed need for training or qualification
          • increased significance of the training needs analysis for executives and employees in all departments and on all of the company's hierarchy levels, partly regulated by sectoral collective agreements
          • deployment of the internal department for education evaluation in order to prove the success of individual personnel development measures
          • increased outsourcing of personnel development measures and a more efficient IT support (e-learning)
          • tighter connection of personnel development and organisation development ("learning organisation")
          • securing the employability as one of the main goals of personnel development with far-reaching consequences for the internal education
          • increased significance of the selective talent search and talent promotion in the light of demographic change
          • increased significance of individual and group coaching
          • offering of longterm employment prospects on the basis of elaborated executive, specialist and project careers in order to improve the employer attractiveness on the external job market, in conjunction with the continuing education program, and simultaneously tie the already signed achievers down to the company in the long term

          Learning motivation required

          Guiding principle: "He who does not want more than he can achieve remains below his abilities." Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)

          Consulting focuses of ISPA consult - an overview

          • training needs analysis: appraisal of the individual training need through profile comparisons
          • concept development for continuing education programs: elaboration of personnel development programs for certain target groups
          • talent management, talent search and talent promotion
          • career planning: design of executive, specialist and project careers

          a) training needs analysis

          • determination of criteria for job specifications of the individual positions or groups of positions and for the qualification profiles of the job contents (referring to the actual state) as well as the definition of charts for measuring the characteristics
          • executive training for training needs analyses with the employees
          • determination and documentation of the training need through variance analysis for each criterion
          • connection of the noticed training need with continuing education measures "on the job", "near the job", and "off the job"

          b) concept development for continuing education programs

          The concept development for continuing education programs is primarily oriented on the training need of the target group (which competencies are to be conveyed). The rest is oriented on the methodical-didactical level of knowledge, defining how these components can be conveyed as effectively and efficiently as possible. In this process, increased use is made of the possibilities of modern e-learning including in-class lectures (so-called hybrid e-learning).

           C) talent management

          • method-based early recognition of talents, for example through already available or to be developed analyses of potential
          • design of single-level or multi-level support programs for talents
          • admission and nomination regulations for the support programs

          D) Career planninG

          • design of executive career
          • design of specialist career
          • design of project career

          Each design includes entry level, interim, and final positions, which have to be gradually apparelled with attractive job descriptions and tasks. A specific problem is the permeability between different careers and the comparability of the positions.


          For further information please take a look at ISPA talent.