Topic Introduction:Performance management is a crucial part of effectively operating an organization and it plays an important role in organizations across many different industries. It is a way for organizations to set and realize their operational objectives. If performance management is used effectively it can increase employee productivity and performance through proper guidance and constructive management feedback. For performance management to be most effective it must be linked to a company’s strategic objectives and it must also be seen as more than just a bureaucratic necessity by management. Performance management is most commonly associated with annual performance reviews as a means to measure employee productivity and performance. Using annual performance reviews alone to measure employee performance has obvious drawbacks, which are reflected in their limitations to give a clear understanding of employees overall performance within an organization. More recently, this has caused some debate about whether performance management is a necessary and effective tool for management. For many people partaking in the evaluation process, it is considered to be a dissatisfying experience, which has called for its elimination within some organizations. Performance management should extend beyond annual reviews into an ongoing two-way dialogue between managers and employees that focuses on a better understanding of employee feedback, management expectations and strategic development between the two parties. This paper will discuss current problems with performance ratings, potential improvements to the evaluation process and how many organizations could benefit from the use of effective performance management. This paper will then examine how Air Canada effectively used performance management to boost its operations and increase their own employee performance.Research findings:Performance management is an integral part of effectively operating an organization. If performance management becomes a routine process, is seen as more than a bureaucratic necessity and is aligned with the strategic objectives of an organization it can become a very powerful tool for increasing employee productivity and performance. Performance ratings are often seen as a dissatisfying experience and can be a tense experience for both managers and employees. There are a few companies such as Adobe and General Electric who are opting to eliminate employee ratings and evaluations because it is thought that their costs outweigh their benefits (Cardy, 2016). The call to eliminate performance ratings seems like an easy solution for both managers and employees. The elimination of performance ratings for managers could be seen as one less overly bureaucratic job that needs to be completed during their fiscal year. For employees, the elimination of performance reviews would reduce the uncertainty and stress that often comes associated with their reviews. Such bureaucratic processes in any organization tend to not be embraced by their employees and become tiresome for managers who have to complete them (Cardy, 2016). Evidently, if more companies began to eliminate performance ratings, they would still need to find other viable ways to assess and measure the performance of their employees. Performance management is the backbone of an organization and should be treated accordingly. Performance management helps identify the top performers, seeks to ensure they are rewarded accordingly and it also helps to identify the areas where performance could be improved to increase the organization’s operational efficiency as a whole. There are certainly problems with performance ratings such as limited effectiveness of rater training, inter-rater disagreement, inadequate criteria or questionable validity (Cardy, 2016). Despite the above listed shortcomings, both the article ‘Beyond Performance Ratings: The Long Road to Performance Management’ and the article ‘Effective Performance Management Systems’ are in agreement that performance ratings are not the issue and that they are considerably effective when implemented correctly. It is evident that error and bias can have an immediate impact on performance ratings; however, performance ratings are not the main source of difficulty within performance management. The biggest problem with performance ratings is that they tend to be seen by managers as a bureaucratic necessity and as a result they do not invest the proper amount of time into getting them done properly. Thinking of performance evaluations in such a manner causes management to distance themselves from the process and results in the importance of employee ratings to be minimized. Another major problem that plagues the performance management process is that some managers may feel uncomfortable providing constructive feedback to their employees and will avoid completing evaluations. Evaluating employee performance and providing constructive feedback should be viewed as a central component of a manager’s job and is the best method to improve performance within a company. Organizations should actively work towards changing the perception of performance management from the need to complete forms or provide documentation to it’s human resource department to one that is necessary for providing coaching to its employees and as a means to improving their overall performance. A few ways that organizations could centralize performance management and integrate it into management’s everyday duties are including performance management into the evaluation of managers, changing how performance management occurs and by focusing on employee strengths and their future performance (Cardy, 2016). If giving employee evaluations is included in the evaluation of managers it will be reinforce their importance and foster an environment where they will become a regular occurrence. Performance evaluations are often seen as something that needs to occur only at formal and set intervals but by changing how they occur into a more routine process, managers will be able to provide more timely and constructive feedback to employees that will create more opportunities to correct their habits and to increase performance. The increased dialogue regarding performance will also enhance employees’ comprehension of exactly what is expected of them as well as decrease the discomfort levels of both parties while giving and receiving feedback. By shifting the evaluation process to a strength-based approach and one that is future performance oriented, management can position itself to give more positive feedback, which will result in less employees becoming demotivated. In order to implement these types of improvements, management needs to be given the necessary resources and skills to properly engage with their employees and to address any potential performance issues. One other problem with employee evaluations worth noting is that the evaluation criteria are not always relevant to achieving the organization’s strategic objectives. Along with the above listed potential improvements to the performance management process, it is imperative that employee evaluations are based on behavioural competencies that are the most critical for successfully performing their jobs and that the evaluation criteria are ones that promote the organizations operational objectives (Gliddon, 2004). The employee evaluation system should support other strategic human resource functions of an organization and that human resource processes such as succession planning, employee development and management development should be able to benefit from information that is collected through out the employee evaluation process (Gliddon, 2004). The academic perspectives and suggestions for improving the performance evaluation process presented in this paper’s research could readily be applied to a real company. By changing the frequency of how often conversations regarding performance occur within an organization, managers can begin to facilitate a culture of honesty where a company’s strategy and goals are being clearly communicated to employees and creating an environment where the employees can all get involved in a closed loop cycle of continuous improvement.III. Canadian Business Case Study:Air Canada is an example of a company that has undergone many changes in order to improve in their operations and reach their objectives. Among these changes, Air Canada focused on their performance management system, which was a key factor to the company going from near bankruptcy to delivering record results in 2016 (Boothby, 2017).This case study is quite important in this specific context since the company made use of a performance management system to keep track of the key priorities that allowed it to change its situation. This, added to other methods aimed at improving the communication and teamwork within the company, allowed Air Canada to continue its growth and outperform all other North American airlines that operate in the country.The improvement of the company’s performance was heavily attributed to four key priorities (Boothby, 2017): cost transformation, global expansion, customer engagement, and culture change. By focusing on these issues, the company made changes to their day-to-day operations and moved to a collaborative environment, which compelled all employees to start working together in order to reach a common objective.As part of their changes towards becoming a performance based organization, Air Canada made a number of changes that motivated their employees to help the organization reach its goals. These changes are deeply related to our academic findings, particularly the functions in management control as discussed by Otley. In his article, he mentions incentives and rewards systems to help with employees’ performance. In this case, Air Canada created a profit-sharing plan, which was made available to all of its employees and gave them a financial benefit if the company reached its goals (Yerema & Leung, 2017). As a result of this, the company paid 220 million distributed to 28,000 employees in 2015 alone (Boothby, 2017).Furthermore, the company participates in yearly outside salary surveys, as well as performing individual salary reviews in the same time frame. This added to other benefits such as air travel discounts for all employees and their immediate family members, as well as unique promotions in duty free stores and merchandise available in their extranet (Yerema & Leung, 2017), allows the company to reduce employee turnover and attract talent that will help the company continue with a high performance.Besides incentives and awards, the company also invests heavily in their employees’ training and skills development. Some of their initiatives include mentoring, in-house training, leadership training, subsidies for professional accreditation, paid internships, as well as an online learning center known as Air Canada University (Yerema & Leung, 2017). Their in-house training program, which is available at one of four major training facilities in Canada, offers a wide range of options including language courses, technical training and a flight simulator for their pilots (Air Canada, 2015).Another essential point that relates our academic findings to the organization is the feedback system. Without it, the company would not be able to ensure that all of their efforts will have a positive impact in their processes and overall performance. Some of the aspects of their feedback system include employee performance reviews every 4 months, performance review training for their managers, exit interviews for departing employees, performance recognition awards –including long service awards, annual peer-to-peer recognition awards, award of excellence, and award of bravery– and a 360 degree feedback option that solicits performance from co-workers and managers familiar with each employee’s work (Yerema & Leung, 2017).RecommendationsIndubitably, with Air Canada as the case study company, performance management is perceived to be a critical tool in any given organization’s administration process. The observation is made on the conception that the company was fast in realizing the significance of its 30,000 employees and this changed everything. This expression is evident with the fact that the company transformed from an almost crumbling situation to one where it recorded exceptional performances in 2016 (Boothby, 2017). Therefore, in the reflection of the analyzed concept about performance management, the major arguments are that it should be disregarded because it is perceivably misleading. However, considering that Air Canada has managed to make it its most vital operational tool, then, it means that very little recommendations can be made. Instead, the company needs to be complimented for its exceptional performance.For instance, according to Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, the organization’s human resource vice-president, the company has invested in its employees as well as considered the concept that the consumers are the end-party in its operations (Boothby, 2017). That is, the four key priorities: cost transformation, global expansion, customer engagement, and culture change may be applauded for helping to make the overall performance management effective. Moreover, this is even more evident with the fact that out of the 30,000 employees, at least 28,000 enjoyed company rewards (Boothby, 2017). From this occurrence, the company may be said to be doing good since it does not suffer the problem of rating as being catastrophic to its performance management. If so, the best way to deal with the overall situation is to make sure that the company focuses on issues of making performance management a central tool in the administration process as well as continue providing the workers with the needed skills. As of the time frame, there should not be a definite time; instead, the company should make these recommendations inherent managerial aspects.With this in mind, if the company succeeds in the integration of these changes to all of their operations, they will be able to apply their new culture to all sections of their organization. This is mostly because even if the company has an exceptional performance management system, their only flaw is that it has not been applied to the whole organization yet, as some of their benefits –mostly related to vacation and personal time off– vary by position; and some of them are managed by union groups (Yerema & Leung, 2017). Thus, not having a consistent form of rewards throughout their organization may lead to varying results in the overall performance of their employees, and some of them performing better than others. But we are confident that this will be prevented as the company continues to integrate the new system, especially considering the relatively short period of time in which they have accomplished their turnaround.