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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Performance appraisal of group 'D' staff - An Exercise in Futility

Author(s): Sidhartha Satpathy

Vol. 12, No. 1 (2000-01 - 2000-06)

Keywords : Human resource, Employer, Employee, Performance appraisals

With the advancement of management science, it has become imperative on the part of mangers or administrators to regularly obtain feedback on human resource development systems in various organisations. Performance appraisal is an integral link in the chain of effective managerial operations, since it is the all powerful instrument directing individuals in achieving organisational objectives. It plays a vital role in the entire process of individual and organisational development. In no other setting are human beings more important than in hospital, because of the peculiar personnel mix and the fact that practically everything in hospitals require proper and systematic team work. Motivation and morale of all the employees should be high, and this is all the more essential for group 'D" staff, because of the repetitive and menial nature of the job. The hospital administrator has to play the role of a co-ordinator and conductor in management of hospitals1, 2.

The Government of India has inherited the procedure, concept and entire process of confidential reports from the British System. Even with the passage of half a century there has been no significant change in the evaluation system3. The Government of India has accepted the principle that confirmation of service, crossing of efficiency bar, promotions etc. should be based on the assessment of the confidential records/dossiers4. In the interest of efficiency of services and morale of the staff members, the annual confidential reports ought to be written with the greatest possible care, with objectivity and fairness being the prime concern. As a rule, confidential reports should give general appreciation of the character, conduct and qualities of an officer/official reported upon; and references of specific instances should be given as supporting evidence for general comments of an adverse nature. The report should give a clear opinion on the main points like character, integrity, industry etc5. Rules stipulate that the reporting and reviewing officers should have been acquainted with the working of the person reported upon, for at least a period of three months during the period covered by the confidential report6.

The Government of India had instructed way back in 1975 that respective ministries/departments should examine the necessity for continuing the practice of maintaining confidential records for group 'D' staff. It also recommended the scrapping of the system of confidential records in cases, where reports are not in public interest/do not serve any specific purpose. The practice should be continued in respect of group 'D' staff entrusted with sensitive work, to maintain discipline and exercise proper control in their working. It further stated that the practice should not be continued only on the ground that these reports are required for consideration of their cases for crossing efficiency bar7,8

Subsequently, the Comptroller and Auditor General decided that (i) writing of confidential records of group 'D' employees is no longer necessary, except in respect of those engaged in sensitive work. (ii) in case of shortcomings in performance of allotted work or any act of indiscipline, disciplinary proceedings should be initiated; (iii) punishments including recordable warnings, or commendations etc. conveyed to the employees should be directly entered in the service book. Whenever Departmental Promotion Committee meetings are held for crossing of efficiency bar, promotion etc. relevant information should be submitted9.

Material and Methods

With this background, it was felt necessary to carry out descriptive cross sectional study in a premier, superspeciality tertiary care hospital where the Annual Confidential Records of group 'D' staff was being maintained. Out of total of approximately 534 group 'D' staff working in the hospital on regular basis, randomly 25% of the ACR's in each category for the year' 98-99 were scrutinised. This sample included confidential reports of Hospital Attendants (nursing orderlies) and Sanitation

Attendants Grade I to III. These were chosen scientifically with the help of a multiple digit random number list, after first enumerating the reports serially10.


On analysis of the confidential reports the following observations were made :-

Table 1 : Scores on Observation Items for Hospital Attendant and Sanitation Attendent

Sl. No. Observation Items Hospital Attendants (n = 87)

Sanitation Attendants (n = 47)

    Number % Number %
1 Intelligence
  Poor 0 0 2 4
  Fair 17 20 9 20
  Good 63 72 36 76
  Very Good 7 8 0 0
  Not Recorded 0 0 0 0
2 Amenability to Discipilne
  Poor 0 0 0 0
  Fair 14 16 13 28
  Good 64 74 34 72
  Very Good 7 8 0 0
  Not Recorded 2 2 0 0
3 Honesty and Integrity
  Poor 0 0 0 0
  Fair 9 10 8 16
  Good 64 74 36 76
  Very Good 14 16 3 8
  Not Recorded 0 0 0 0
4 Punctuality
  Poor 7 8 5 10
  Fair 9 10 17 36
  Good 64 76 23 49
  Very Good 14 8 2 5
  Not Recorded 0 0 0 0
5 Devotion to Duty
  Poor 0 0 4 8
  Fair 17 20 8 18
  Good 57 64 33 70
  Very Good 13 14 2 4
  Not Recorded 0 0 0 0
6 Fit for Promotion to Next Grade
  Yes 66 76 34 72
  No 9 10 1 2
  Not Responded 12 14 12 26
7 Are You Prepared to Retain Under You
  Yes 66 76 35 74
  No 9 10 10 22
  Not Responded 12 14 2 4
8 Overall Grading
  Fair/Poor 5 6 9 20
  Good 66 76 37 78
  Very Good 16 18 1 2


It is clearly evident that approximately 75% of the hospital attendants have been graded "good" on counts of intelligence, amenability to discipline, honesty and integrity, punctuality and devotion to duty. Similarly, 76% of them have been adjudged to be fit for promotion to the next grade ; which correlates will with the column - 'prefer to retain under you". About, 75% have been graded "good". About 10-20% have been graded "fair" and about 10% graded "very good" on counts of intelligence, amenability to discipline, honesty and integrity, punctuality and devotion to duty. It is interesting to note that about 8% have been graded "poor" in punctuality ; whereas in other columns none has been graded so. About 10% have not been found fit for promotion to the next grade and the same number are not preferred to be retained under the same reporting officers.

However, there are few discordant notes which need to be pointed out. The first is that only 6% have been graded "Poor/Fair" which gives an impression of subjective biases and other external factors which compels the reporting officer not to give an overall grading of "Poor/Fair" unless it is absolutely imperative. The second point is that roughly about 10% of the group 'D' staff gets transferred from one place of posting to another during the general transfers in actual practice ; although the ACR's do not reflect this trend accurately. Finally, its has been observed that a fairly large number of staff are in the habit of absenting themselves without permission from competent authorities for quite a number of days, as a result of which wage deductions and other disciplinary actions are initiated against them ; but this has not been brought forward in this study. A study on absenteeism of group 'D' staff in '92 revealed that regular employees were prone to be more absent than other categories11.

In case of sanitation attendants, less than half (48%) have been graded as "Good" with regard to punctuality, where as about 70-75% score "Good" on counts of intelligence, amenability to discipline, honesty and integrality, and devotion to duty. About 70% of them have been found to be fit for promotion to the next grade, which correlates well with the fact that 74% were ready to be retained under their present reporting officers. Overall, 78% were graded as "Good", where as a fairly large number of them i.e. 20% were graded as "Fair/Poor". An interesting point which came to light was that as high as 26% of the reporting officers did not fill up the column on fitness for promotion to the next higher grade which could be explained by either oversight on their part, or a subconscious desire which reflects the actual performance, of sanitation attendants. More in depth studies along these lines would be required to unravel these findings. Similarly, the fact that as high as 44% have been graded "Fair or Poor" with regard to punctuality ; clearly highlights the fact that there is a lot of scope for improvement in this regard. Some that there is a lot of scope for improvement in this regard. Some of the methods by which punctuality could be ensured is by taking "surprise rounds" during the change over of duties; or ensuring proper handing over and taking over of duties for this category of personnel ; as is being done for other categories viz. doctors, nurses and paramedics.

In this context, it would be worthwhile to mention that the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that the Government should formulate a promotion scheme which should cater to the promotional aspirations of Central Government employes in general. Under this Assured Career Progression Scheme, all group 'D' employees shall have their first financial upgradation i.e movement to the next higher scale after twelve years of service. They may get their second financial upgradation after completion of another twelve years of service.12.


Performance appraisals are of utmost importance to both the employer as well as the employee, especially if they are conceived as an aid to evaluate performance, reward and develop an employee and plan his/her career13. The implementation of an objective and purposeful performance appraisal procedure fulfills the purpose of optimising the crucial human element aspect14. However, the archaic and outdated annual confidential report system, which we have inherited as legacy of the British Raj, needs to be either revamped or done away with. In its present form, it is not a true reflection of the full potential of the employee and is mechanically and routinely filled up for the sake of completion of the personal dossiers. Hence, in hindsight, may be the Assured Career Progression Scheme Envisaged by the fifth pay commission is a better option, when it comes to performance appraisal of group 'D' employees.


  1. Rakshit R.K., Leadership in Hospital Proceedings of Seminar on Hospital Administration ; 1984 16-20th Oct. ; AIIMS, New Delhi. p 27-31.
  2. Kant S, Gupta S, Gupta A. Management of Change and Innovation in Hospitals. JAHA, 1998 July ; 10(2) : 7-16.
  3. Kumar R, Sigamoni M. Performance Appraisal - A Tool for Staff Development. First Edition - 1993. Rainbow Asian Christian Academy, Gurgaon.
  4. C.S., O.M.No. 51/5/72-Estt. (A) dated 20th May'1972 Para 2.1.
  5. P & T Manual, Vol. III, Para 174 (4, 7, 8, 9 10, 11).
  6. D.P. & A.R., OM No. 51/3/74-Estt. (A) dated 22nd May, 1975.
  7. D.P. & A.R., OM No. 3504/11/76-Estt. (A) dated 25th August, 1977.
  8. Deptt. of Personnel & Training. OM NO. 35014/2/81-Estt. (A) dated 16th May, 1985.
  9. C. & AG. , New Delhi. Letter no. 1455-N.2/78-85, dated 24th December, 1986.
  10. Teaching Health Statistics, Lesson and Seminar Outlines, 2nd Edition ; Ed. Lwanga SK, Cho Yook Tye, O Ayeni, WHO, Geneva 1999, Annexure C, Page 223-14.
  11. Sarma R. K., Kalra A. Absenteeism, A financial bottleneck and a resource drain. 1994 July ; 6(2) : 27-30.
  12. Nabhi's Referencer for Central Govt. Employees, 1999, Nabhi Publications, New Delhi; Career Progression 271-3.
  13. Jejurikar G. Across the table, Ascent, The Times of India 1996 October ' 9; page 21 (columns 2-5)
  14. Viz R. Accent on assessment. Ascent, The Times of India 1995 June'28 ; page 25 (column 2).

* Assistant Professor, Department of Hospital Administration, All Indian Institute of Medical Science, Ansari Nagar, New Dehlhi - 29

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