One important QA-related activityconducted regularly by nearly all organizations is the measure of staff performance. In order to streamline the process and ensure everybody in the college effectively performs hisrole, Nizwa College of Technology embarked on a project to use existinginformation technologies to migrate its staff appraisal process from the old cumbersome paper-based approach to a new,sleeker strategy - putting it on the college local network.
In this scheme, old paper-based forms are re-designed and made available via a web browser so that staff would have easy access tothem. Correspondingly, several levels of users were created.The "staff" user level allows each individual staff to fill-in the part for self-appraisal (this also serves as the basis for one-to-one discussion with his immediate superior to set the goals for the year). This further allows the staff to write his expectations, his plans for self-improvement for the current academic year, and his trainings and other development activities that he feels are needed for a better performance of his job. The next user level is the "immediate superior". This level is used by the staff who heads a group or a section. In the case of anHoS of an academic department for example, this level is used to enter the mark from aggregated student feedback of the staff being reviewed, as well as the HoS?s observations on the character, attitude and skills (based on set criteria)of the concerned staff. The immediate superior also adds his comments and observations of the staff throughout the academic year, as well as his recommendations for staff developmentrequired by the concerned staff. The third user level is the "line manager". This is used by HoDs and HoCs to approve or refute comments and observations of the immediate superior to the staff (by writing additional comments and observations). The whole process is thenforwarded to the concerned Assistant Dean for further comments and observations, and lastly to the College Dean for the final approval.
The good thing about all this is the efficiency of the approach: each section or department head can immediately see who has completed the required self-appraisal, and is thus ready for the immediate superior?scomments and observations; those at the top management, meanwhile, can easily see the summary of the staff appraisal process and prepare the required training plan and other activities based on inputted information.
After using this approach for three cycles now, the NCT community starts to prefer the paperless approach in other QA-related activities over the more traditional ones (read: paper-based). There is no turning back.