Guidelines for Building a Complete and Fair Appraisal

Frequent Communication

  • Planned frequent communication and feedback on job performance helps overcome fear during the actual formal performance appraisal session.

Judge Your Own Performance

  • Evaluate your own performance before you evaluate the staff member’s performance. Are you responsible for their good or bad performance?

Warm-Up Period

  • Take the time to develop rapport and discuss the advantages of an appraisal.

  • Review the information on hand to measure the staff member’s performance.

Be Candid & Be Specific

  • Candidly get right to the point in discussing a staff member’s performance on the job. Honesty and candor will result in a big payoff for you and the staff member.

Build on Strengths

  • This approach enables the staff member to work toward their greatest potential.

  • The staff member must use their strengths to accomplish a job; they cannot use their weaknesses.

Be a Positive Listener

  • Listen attentively. Non-verbal communication often says more than words.

Judge Performance – Not the Person

  • Judge a staff member’s performance and results. Don’t judge personality or personal traits.

Avoid Evaluation Errors

Though supervisors try to be objective in evaluating staff members’ performance, personal biases manifest themselves in the use of performance rating scales. These are often referred to as rating errors and include:

Halo Error

  • Managers tend to generalize from one aspect of a person’s performance to other aspects of it, causing a halo error. If a staff member performs very well in one area of the job, the manager may rate the overall performance as outstanding (Performance Level 5) even though performance in other areas is not at this level.

Recency Error

  • Recency error occurs when the rating is based mainly on performance near the end of the review period, positively or negatively. The rating in this case may not accurately reflect the entire job performance.

Contrast Error

  • Contrast error occurs when a manager rates two or more staff members who differ substantially in level of performance. For example, a staff member who is performing at a competent level (Performance Level 3) may, in comparison, with a marginal staff member, be rated Performance Level 5. This error could work in the opposite direction: the competent staff member may be rated at below standards (Performance Level 2) because of the contrast with a distinguished level of performance.

Constancy Error

  • This occurs when managers use only a portion of the rating scale in accordance with their own set of performance standards. Lenient raters concentrate their ratings at the top end of the scale. Other raters show a central tendency error, believing no one is really unacceptable or outstanding, and therefore never using these extreme ratings though they may be applicable.

Morale Building Error

  • This error occurs when managers give above standards ratings (Performance Level 4 or 5) to increase the morale or to avoid causing low morale when performance does not justify it. Meeting standards of the job should not imply a negative rating or “average” performance. It should indicate that the staff member did the job as expected of him or her as established at the beginning of the review period.

Generosity Error

  • This occurs when managers give above standards ratings (Performance Level 5) to increase the amount of merit increase to be granted. It is not fair to the staff member or other staff members and it creates a level of expectation for future performance ratings.

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