Methods of performance evaluation


Our previous articles explained what to evaluate and who should do the evaluation. In this article we are briefing about how to evaluate an employee’s performance and what are the specific techniques for evaluation. Here we are reviewing performance evaluation methods.

Written Essays

Probably the simplest method of evaluation is to write a narrative describing an employee’s strengths, weakness, past performance, potential, and suggestions for improvement. The written essay requires no complex forms or extensive training to complete. But the results often reflect the ability of the writer. A good or bad appraisal may be determined as much by the evaluator’s writing skills as by the employee’s actual level of performance.

Critical Incidents

Critical incidents focus the evaluator’s attention on the behavior which plays a key role in making the difference between executing a job effectively and executing it ineffectively. That is, the appraiser writes down anecdotes that describes what the employee did that was especially effective or ineffective. The key here is that specific behaviors, not vaguely defined personality traits, are cited. A list of critical incidents provides a rich set of examples from which the employee can be shown the behaviors that are desirable and those that call for improvement.

Graphic Rating Scales

One of the oldest and most popular methods of evaluation is the use of graphic rating scales. In this method, a set of performance factors, such as quantity and quality of work, depth of knowledge, co-operation, loyalty, attendance, honesty, and initiative, is listed. The evaluator then goes down the list and rates each on incremental scales. The scales typically specify five points, so a factor such as job knowledge might be rated as 1 (‘poorly informed about work duties’) to 5 (‘has complete mastery of all phases of the job’)

Why are graphic rating scales so popular? Although they don’t provide the depth of information that critical incidents do, they are less time consuming to develop and administer. They also allow for quantitative analysis and comparison.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS)

BARS combine major elements from the critical incident and graphic rating scale approaches. The appraiser rates the employees based on items along a continuum, but the points are examples of actual behavior on the given job rather than general description or traits.

BARS specify definite, observable, and measurable job behavior. Examples of job-related behavior and performance dimensions are found by asking participants to give specific illustrations of effective and ineffective behavior regarding each performance dimension. These behavioral examples are then translated into a set of performance dimensions, each dimension having varying levels of performance. The results of this process are behavioral descriptions, such as anticipates, plans, executes, solves immediate problems, carries out orders, and handles emergency situations.

Forced Comparisons

Forced comparison evaluates one individual’s performance against the performance of another or others. It is a relative rather than an absolute measuring device. The two most popular comparisons are group order ranking and individual ranking.

In the group order ranking, the evaluator has to place employees into a particular classification, such as top fifth or second fifth. This method is often used in recommending students to graduate schools Evaluators are asked whether the student ranks in the top 5% of the class the next 5%, the next 15%, and so forth. But when used by managers to appraise employees, managers deal with all their subordinates. Therefore, if a rater has 20 employees, only four can be in the top fifth and, four must be relegated to the bottom fifth.

The individual ranking approach rank order of employees from best to worst. If the manager is required to appraise 30 employees, this approach assumes that the difference between the first and second employee is the same as that between the twenty-first and twenty- second. Even though some of the employees may be closely grouped, this approach allows for no ties. The result is a clear ordering of employees, from the highest performer down to the lowest.

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