Performance Appraisal and Review at the Zoological Society of San Diego

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB125 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Performance Appraisal / Performance Review/ Performance Management
Case Length : 11 pages
Period : 2005-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : The Zoological Society of San Diego
Industry : Entertainment and Recreation
Countries : US


This case is about Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD), a nonprofit organization that operated the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, and San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research, and how it implemented a new online employee performance management system.

Before this, ZSSD did not have an effective system for employee performance. Appraisal was almost non-existent in the organization with it being given a low priority. The organization had a paper-based system, but there were no consequences for not filling up the forms and sending it to the HR department. In 2005, as part of ZSSD's new strategic plan, the organization decided to lay emphasis on employee accountability and a make a shift to pay-for-performance system that was tied to goals.

The HR team led by the new HR Director Tim Mulligan (Mulligan) decided to opt for an online employee performance management system - Halogen eAppraisal.

As per the new system, each employee was rated on two categories - goals and leadership competencies. The goals flowed from the overall organizational objectives while the organization had involved managers in identifying the required leadership competencies.

After rolling out the new system in a phased manner, ZSSD said that the new system had not only resulted in 100 percent completion rate of performance appraisals, the system had also helped the organization transform its culture and increase employee accountability.


To understand the issues and challenges in employee performance appraisal and performance management.

To analyze ZSSD's new performance appraisal system that rated employees on goals and leadership competencies.

To analyze the respective advantages and disadvantages of using a paper-based performance appraisal system and online performance appraisal system.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The Challenge 3
Planning a New Performance Management System 4
Implementing the New Web-Based System 5
Results 6
Outlook 8
Exhibits 9

Key Words:

Performance appraisal, Performance review, Performance management, Performance evaluation, Talent management, Goal Management, Competency Management, Career Development, Performance Journals, HRIS, HR systems, Vendor selection, Performance appraisal software, Organizational culture, Halogen Software, Halogen eAppraisal, San Diego Zoo

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