One of the challenges with implementing a fair and effective performance management system relates to implementing a rating system.
The challenges arise at implementing a rating for the individual employee and also across individuals so that there is uniformity in respect of the rating given by different managers to employees who may doing similar or varied roles.
Robert Eichinger and colleagues in their book ‘FYI For Performance Management’ identified a number of common issues with implementing ratings for the individual employee as follows:
- Initial Impression – the manager is unduly influenced by the initial positive or negative effect
- Status – the manager is unduly influenced by the persons job title, educational attainment or some other previous achievement in a different role
- Aura – the manager is influenced by the employee’s “halo” (can do no wrong) or “horns” (can do no right) aura
- Latest Behaviour – the manager gives more weight to a recent positive or negative achievement or behaviour
- Association– the manager is influenced either positively or negatively by the association of the individual being rated with another person or group
- Same as me / Different to me – the manager tends to rate employees with similar backgrounds to themselves higher than those who don’t
It is imperative that managers are trained in the skills of implementing a fair and effective performance management system including the rating system.
Ratings Across Individuals
Ideally all managers would rate the same performance in the same way.
So, individuals doing the same role with different managers and with the same performance would be rated the same.
In practice this doesn’t happen and measures need to be taken to achieve this.
In the first instance managers need to have a well defined framework to assess individual performance.
Role competencies need to be defined as well as clearly defined objectives for the role.
This well defined system gives all managers a framework to operate under so that there is less likelihood of subjectivity or bias in giving the rating.
Another measure that can be taken is to have a higher level manager review the ratings of individual managers reporting to them and provide feedback / correction on the overly easy or difficult ratings. This is often called the 2nd Reviewer.
Robert Eichinger and his colleagues suggests that another approach is to make each manager’s ratings available to and be reviewed by their peers.
This has the effect of raters needing to have ‘hard’ data and objective information to defend / justify their ratings, and those who rate easy or hard to adjust their ratings to the norm.
Finally, a further approach is to have an organisation ‘Review Board’ complete an overall review of ratings across the organisation, from department to department, from manager to manager, etc. to determine consistency or otherwise and to address issues of ‘gaming’ that can so badly damage the overall purpose of performance management processes.
Book: “FYI For Performance Management” by Robert Eichinger, Kim Ruyle and Michael Lombardo.