Get Rid of Performance Appraisals!!! Performance Appraisals Rating Problems!

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Hi guys, this post is the last one of this series. I have been writing why companies should “Get Rid of Performance Appraisals!”. In the first blog post that you can revisit here I explained most of the reasons why Performance Appraisals fail. In the second blog, I explained how Performance Appraisals are incompatible with the Agile mindset. This time I will write about various types of rating errors that are used when companies do Performance Appraisals.

I want to make clear the text presented below was taken from the book: “Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead” from Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins M.D. They did such a fantastic job that I do not see any reason to change their awesome text. The information presented below shows how inaccurate the Performance Appraisals output can be… And it shows that a true employee performance may not have anything to do with the final “evaluation”.

Various Types of Rating Errors:

Leniency Error: This represents raters’ tendencies to give very generous ratings. The tendency may arise from a supervisor’s desire to preserve a good working relationship or politicking to advance “my people.”

Severity Error: This is the reverse of leniency error. Severity may reflect a cultural view toward appraisal or may be the product of a supervisor who has received a poor rating. Evidence indicates that people’s tendency to rate severely or leniently is significantly influenced by the way they are rated (“If I am mediocre, then that must be true of most people!”)

Central Tendency and Range Restriction Errors: As these words imply, central tendency error reflects a predisposition to cluster most people near the middle. Range restriction error is similar but refers to rater’s tendency to place people within a specified range (e.g. on a scale of 1–5 and 5 being high, absent very unusual circumstances, everyone will be rated between 3 and 4.

Halo and Horn Errors: These errors refer to our tendency to carry over our perception of a strength (the halo) or a weakness (the horn) in one dimension of rating into other dimensions. For example, a rater sees a person with high productivity, and this favorable impression unconsciously is carried over in rating the candidate in other dimensions, such as analytical and communication skills. Consequently, the person receives somewhat inflated ratings in these other areas. An example of horn effect: an administrative assistant does a poor job of filing and organizing paperwork, and this results in diminished ratings in an area of strength, such as client communication and resourcefulness.

Recency Error: Everyone who has been a giver or receiver of appraisal knows this one, also known as the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately syndrome. While ratings in theory reflect the prior 12-month period of time, the frailties of selective and poor memory tend to cause high focus on events immediately preceding the appraisal. An engineer could do six great projects in a row during the year, but if her last project before review turns out badly, she can expect that project to deflate her ratings for the year. The reverse occurs as well.

Fundamental Attribution Error: Fundamental attribution error is our tendency to attribute favorable outcomes for ourselves as caused by our internal qualities (I’m smart, hardworking, etc.) while seeing our unfavorable outcomes as caused by external forces beyond our control (the equipment, the customer, etc.). However, when we view the outcomes of other people, fundamental attribution causes us to do the opposite—we tend to see others’ success as a product of luck and their failure as a reflection of their incompetence, laziness, or something within their control.

Self-Serving Bias: Self-serving bias occurs when raters inflate ratings to make themselves look good. Supervisors responsible for training and developing a person will have a favorable bias because the rating reflects on their skill as a supervisor or trainer.

This blog post is part of my new book that I am writing: Get Rid of Performance Reviews, if you are interested on the topic please subscribe as a Beta Reader and receive the 1st part for free right HERE.

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