Evaluating Employees

Remaining Impartial When Appraising Staff Performance

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Staff performance assessments can be awkward things, can't they? However objective you aim to be its human nature to let personal bias influence you.

Even when managerial staff members aim to be as unbiased as possible, concerns about the accuracy and objectivity of performance appraisals can arise.

Remaining Impartial When Appraising Staff Performance

If the time approaches when you need to evaluate your employees performances then be aware of the different factors that may influence the way you assess things. Herewith is a brief outline of the common mistakes that managers make during the evaluation process:

Angels or Demons

If you see angels you are prone to overrate the performance of staff members and may grade them with a slightly higher rank overall based on the fact that they perform well in a couple of areas. These sorts of ratings can't encourage staff to develop because of their inaccuracy. Conversely, demon ratings devalue staff members and such appraisals may be based on small areas of poor performance even when stronger performances appear elsewhere from the same employee. False up ratings and false down ratings are equally as valueless because they aren't representative of the truth.

Evaluation Categories

Different words have different meanings to different people. The most commonly used terms in appraisals are:

  • Fair
  • Good
  • Excellent
  • Average
  • Poor
  • Bad

This sort of categorisation is too vague but often managers prefer to use it because it seems more personal than a 1 - 10 scale system. The latter may seem clinical but it gives more precise information.

Average Scoring

Don't be tempted to award everyone an average score. While this seems an inoffensive appraisal nothing can be learned from it. Give credit where it's due, make changes where necessary. It is rare that every single employee will be average.

Short Term Appraisal

Avoid judging employees on the last thing they did. Cast your mind back the beginning of the period the appraisal covers. That way you will have a more realistic view of each performance. A small bout of poor performance in an otherwise dedicated worker should not blight their entire copy book. Look at the bigger picture.

The Easy Going Approach

Not taking staff valuations seriously and awarding high scores for all may give the impression that you are a laid back boss, but it will teach you nothing. Don't try to be like the cool teacher at school who makes friends of all his pupils and is in with the gang. He didn't teach those kids anything at all. And you won't be able to guide your staff unless you take a professional stance and appraise them honestly.

Understanding Opportunity Merits

Sometimes a staff member that might prove to excel in a given area simply doesn't notch up score board points because they haven't been given the opportunity to. Use staff appraisals to see if you use someone's talents in a different department or by assigning them more challenging projects.

Credit and Blame Tendencies

When a member of staff does well we credit them with doing so. When someone doesn't we tend to point fingers and attribute blame. Often in the workplace it may not right to do so. Messenger shooting is unprofessional. If someone fails to achieve something there may be other factors involved such as not being given the time or the resources to succeed.

Keeping the above in mind will help you to give a detailed and objective appraisal for you employees.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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