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Appraisal Methods

  • It probably goes without saying that different industries and jobs need different kinds of appraisal methods.

    For our purposes, we will discuss some of the main ways to assess performance in a performance evaluation form.
    Generally speaking, the processes of performance appraisal are in six following steps: 1. discussing and establishing standards of performance with employees; 2. setting assessable targets; 3. measuring real performance; 4. comparing real performance with the employee; 5. discussing the evaluation with employee; 6. initiating corrective action when it is necessary.

    Of course, these will change based upon the job specifications for each position within the company. In addition to industry-specific and job-specific methods, many organizations will use these methods in combination, as opposed to just one method.
    Moreover, past performance reviews are often developed and administered by management or human resources department. And, appraisal process must be associated with initiatives, trainings and mentoring. Additionally, during performance appraisals, personal needs and organizational issues are being resolved too. The role of performance appraisal also serves to improve the overall effectiveness of the entire organization. It administers, informs and motivates the entire people within the company. Appraisals administer because it plays as a facilitator of determining the salary increase and other rewards be given to deserving employees. In the same way, it also delegates authority and responsibility to the most capable employees. On the other hand, appraisals inform the entire people in the organization through informing the managers about employee’s strengths and weaknesses in the work place. Similarly, appraisals motivate the employees to improve their performance level; as well as to create learning experience among the workers.

    There are three main methods of determining performance. The first is the trait methodA category of performance evaluation in which managers look at an employee’s specific traits in relation to the job, such as friendliness to the customer.
    Performance Appraisals: Advantages and Disadvantages BUS303: Human Resources Management Instructor: Rhonda Bunce 8/13/12 When doing anything meaningful, humans have a natural desire to know how they are performing. In particular, if they are doing a job, they need to know if they are doing horrible, great, or somewhere in between. One of the best potential ways of providing this feedback is through the use of performance appraisals. By definition, “performance appraisal is the process through which employee performance is assessed, feedback is provided to the employee, and corrective action plans are designed.” (Youssef, 2012) If properly designed and administered, a performance appraisal can provide a great benefit to the employee

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    In those reviews, the supervisor must focus on exact accomplishments rather than simply generalized statements. By doing this, the supervisor can precisely identify how the employee has been doing with respect to the required goals, as well as specific strengths and weaknesses. Depending on exact situations, this could also be used as a disciplinary action tool if the employee does not comply with the requirements of the position. Without this tool, it is difficult to gauge an employee’s performance because there is no data to show positive or negative actions.

    , in which managers look at an employee’s specific traits in relation to the job, such as friendliness to the customer. The behavioral methodA category of performance evaluation in which managers look at individual actions within a specific job.
    The Human Resources Management (HRM) is rational allocation of human resources in planned way based on the requirements of development strategy of organizations, which ensure the corporate strategic objectives. The HRM is a series of corporate policies in human resources affairs and relevant management activities. A diversity of functions are included in the HRM, and the key is to determine the employment needs of an organization and whether to outsource or hire staffs to fill these vacancies, recruiting, training, evaluating performance, and guaranteeing the personnel and management performs conform to numerous rules.

    looks at individual actions within a specific job. Comparative methodsA category of performance evaluation in which managers compare one employee with other employees. compare one employee with other employees. Results methodsA category of performance evaluation in which managers are focused on the accomplishments of the employee, such as whether or not they met a quota.
    Performance appraisals involve setting goals, judging the results achieved, and creating performance criteria that can be met and measured over and over again for each of the employees' job descriptions. The three things that should be focused on are: 1) Performance, not personalities; 2) Valid, concrete, relevant issues, rather than subjective emotions and feelings; and 3) Reaching agreement on what the employee is going to improve in his performance (McKirchy, 9). According to the book, Powerful Performance Appraisals, conducting a good appraisal means the manager must be very clear that the objective is the job-related performance of the individual, and not the personality factors, such as laziness. Furthermore, I think that by focusing on specifics, rather than generalized issues, employees will know how to fix their mistakes or improve their performance. Many times when people hear something negative about their personality, they...

    are focused on employee accomplishments, such as whether or not employees met a quota.

    Within the categories of performance appraisals, there are two main aspects to appraisal methods. First, the criteriaIn performance evaluations, the aspects the employee is being evaluated on. are the aspects the employee is actually being evaluated on, which should be tied directly to the employee᾿s job description. Second, the ratingThe type of scale that will be used to rate each criterion in a performance evaluation.

    The essay method is far less structured and confining than the rating scale method. It permits the appraiser to examine almost any relevant issue or attribute of performance. This contrasts sharply with methods where the appraisal criteria are rigidly defined.

    is the type of scale that will be used to rate each criterion in a performance evaluation: for example, scales of 1-5, essay ratings, or yes/no ratings. Tied to the rating and criteria is the weighting each item will be given.
    Checklist is the most common technique used by companies. It is a rating containing statements describing both effective and ineffective job behaviors. Behavioral checklists are well suited to employee development because they focus on behaviors and results, and use absolute instead of comparative standards. An advantage of using checklists is that evaluators are asked to describe rather than evaluate a subordinate’s behavior. The supervisor weighs the high and low points on his list and comes up with an overall rating for employee performance. On the other hand, a disadvantage of using checklists is the money and time it can consume for the construction of its instruments.

    For example, if “communication” and “interaction with client” are two criteria, the interaction with the client may be weighted more than communication, depending on the job type. We will discuss the types of criteria and rating methods next.
    Q3. Critically assess the importance of the Performance Appraisal as a function of human resource management in either a private or a public sector organization. Use a relevant case study discussed in the seminars to illustrate the importance of the above in relation to the strategic business objective of the organization.

    Graphic Rating Scale

    The graphic rating scaleThis type of performance evaluation lists traits required for the job and asks the source to rate the individual on each attribute., a behavioral method, is perhaps the most popular choice for performance evaluations. This type of evaluation lists traits required for the job and asks the source to rate the individual on each attribute.

    A discrete scaleA scale used in performance evaluations, uses a number of different points, such as a 1-10 scale.
    One must be careful when administering performance appraisals. Many times, bias can prevent an appraisal from being a true representation of an employee’s performance. Though some biases are not intentional, they can still be harmful in the same manner as those that are intentional. Some examples of biases noted in performance appraisals are recency bias (focusing more on recent behaviors), leniency and strictness bias (being too soft or too tough, regardless of performance), halo effect bias (rating a person’s overall performance on one or two traits), central tendency bias (rating everyone not too good but not too bad), compare/contrast bias (basing someone’s performance on another employee’s performance), and length of employment bias (basing a rating on a person’s time with a company).

    is one that shows a number of different points. The ratings can include a scale of 1-10; excellent, average, or poor; or meets, exceeds, or doesn’t meet expectations, for example. A continuous scaleA scale used in performance evaluations that uses a continuum; the manager puts a mark on the continuum that best represents the employee’s performance.
    It is no doubt to say that strategic control plays an important role in meeting strategic business objective of the organizations. "Strategy implementation is best accomplished through high-performing people'' (Michlitsch, 2000), that is to say, the HRM functions are important strategic control measurements. The ability of the organization to obtain a benefit from the professional knowledge and employees' vision will be limited if there is an invaluable link between human resources functions and strategic plans of organization (Humphreys, 2005), so the link between the HRM and strategic objective is so important. As one of the core functions of the HRM, performance appraisal has purpose on administration and motivation, it provides important information and feedback for the HRM, so it is necessary for leaders of organizations to understand and create accomplished performance appraisal and feedback systems, which can "link human resource management activities with the strategic needs of the business'' (Schuler, Fulkerson and Dowling, 1991).

    shows a scale and the manager puts a mark on the continuum scale that best represents the employee’s performance. For example:

    Poor Excellent

    The disadvantage of this type of scale is the subjectivity that can occur. This type of scale focuses on behavioral traits and is not specific enough to some jobs.

    Correspondingly, performance appraisal must be pragmatic, relevant and uniform. Being pragmatic is very important in order to ensure that the appraisal system can be easily understood by the workforce, as well as it can easily be implemented by the managers. Remember, an appraisal system that is complex can only lead to confusion, disappointments and waste of time and money to the entire organization. And, it must be able to identify and evaluate the present condition of the organization as well as the employees. Performance appraisal system that does not able to deal with the critical behaviors of the employees is somewhat inaccurate, invalid and irrelevant. Lastly, uniformity of the appraisal structure is vital because it ensures that all employees will be evaluated on a standardized scale.

    Development of specific criteria can save an organization in legal costs. For example, in Thomas v. IBM, IBM was able to successfully defend accusations of age discrimination because of the objective criteria the employee (Thomas) had been rated on.

    Many organizations use a graphic rating scale in conjunction with other appraisal methods to further solidify the tool’s validity.

    Essay methods are time-consuming and difficult to administer. Appraisers often find the essay technique more demanding than methods such as rating scales.

    For example, some organizations use a mixed standard scaleSimilar to a graphic rating scale, this scale includes a series of mixed statements representing excellent, average, and poor performance, and the manager is asked to rate a “+” (performance is better than stated), “0” (performance is at stated level), or “−” (performance is below stated level).
    As one of the most important functions of the HRM, performance appraisal plays a big role in the success of the organizations' HRM. Performance appraisal affects the productivity and competitiveness of organization, the results of performance appraisal is an important indicator of personnel decisions and effectively performance appraisal leads to better staff management. Performance appraisal has a big importance to either private or public sector organizations and an effectively performance appraisal system does offers great help for either private or public sector organizations to achieve strategic goals. However, since the complicated relationship within the organizations and the complications in establishing well-designed appraisal system, performance appraisal cannot always be effective and useful as we expected it. In one word, establishing an effective appraisal system is not an easy task and it can never be completed overnight (Caruth and Humphreys, 2008). The only way to develop a useful and effective performance appraisal system is to work hard, think carefully, plan seriously and design accurately as what Rother Homes has done, it is not easy but is definitely worth to do.

    , which is similar to a graphic rating scale. This scale includes a series of mixed statements representing excellent, average, and poor performance, and the manager is asked to rate a “+” (performance is better than stated), “0” (performance is at stated level), or “−” (performance is below stated level).
    The statement may be written and edited by the appraiser alone, or it be composed in collaboration with the appraisee.

    Mixed standard statements might include the following:

    • The employee gets along with most coworkers and has had only a few interpersonal issues.
    • This employee takes initiative.
    • The employee consistently turns in below-average work.
    • The employee always meets established deadlines.

    In an essay appraisalA type of performance appraisal in which the source answers a series of questions about the employee’s performance in essay form.

    It is clearly that the HRM makes a great contribution for either private or public sector organizations to achieve organization goals, therefore, as an important function of HRM, the performance appraisal has significant importance in organizations. If there is no performance appraisal system, an organization can hardly have a clear understanding of its current situation, therefore it cannot get the direction and goals for improvement for future, the situation of the organization will be dangerous. If the performance appraisal system is full of deviation or even error, it can possibly lead the organization into a wrong direction of resource inputting, thus the organization will lose its long-term competitiveness. On the contrary, an effective performance appraisal system can ensure resources of the organization invested into the most critical processes, which can improve competitive advantage of organization.

    , the source answers a series of questions about the employee’s performance in essay form. This can be a trait method and/or a behavioral method, depending on how the manager writes the essay. These statements may include strengths and weaknesses about the employee or statements about past performance.
    One of the most critical elements of being a supervisor, manager, or team leader is knowing how to give effective performance appraisals to employees of an organization. This important human resources process helps employees grow along with the company because it focuses their attention on how to become better, more motivated, and eventually more successful. By utilizing a skilled performance appraisal system, these managers can empower employees to take charge of needed improvements, as well as create a more positive and productive work environment. In the simplest terms, performance appraisal may be defined as a structured formal interaction between a subordinate and supervisor, that usually takes the form of a periodic interview, whether it be semi-annual or annual. The work performance of the employee is examined and discussed in great detail in order to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement, and skills development (Archer North).

    They can also include specific examples of past performance. The disadvantage of this type of method (when not combined with other rating systems) is that the manager’s writing ability can contribute to the effectiveness of the evaluation.
    On the other hand, according to the research of Walsh and Fisher (2005), "organizations' performance appraisal processes operate in ways that are less than ideal". Performance appraisal may be leaded to useless and inaccurate situation by many factors such as time pressures, complicated forms and psychological defense. What's more, the appraisal process may become unclear and incoherent since employees and organizations try to meet different needs by performance appraisal. That is why most organizations agree that performance appraisal is important and must be executed, but only a few organizations can execute it continuously, usefully and effectively. Besides, "a performance appraisal system should build clarity and reinforce a strategic corporate mission/direction" (Chadwick, 1991), different parts of the organization will make effort to achieve the objectives in their one-sided view if a performance appraisal system didn't build clarity and strengthen strategic organization objective, this may lead to sabotaging to overall organization goal. If things come to this situation, performance appraisal cannot act as an important and useful role in the HRM, let alone in strategic control.

    Also, managers may write less or more, which means less consistency between performance appraisals by various managers.

    Checklist Scale

    A checklist method for performance evaluations lessens the subjectivity, although subjectivity will still be present in this type of rating system.

    The Absolute Standards Approach is an appraisal method used to assess the performance of employees by presenting a detailed description of the employees’ actual behavior in comparison to a certain set of standards. In this type of appraisal format, the appraisers compare the employees to a certain set of standards, which may come in the form of checklists, rating scales, etc, rather than to other employees within the organization.

    With a checklist scaleA performance evaluation method in which a series of questions is asked and the manager simply responds yes or no to the questions., a series of questions is asked and the manager simply responds yes or no to the questions, which can fall into either the behavioral or the trait method, or both. Another variation to this scale is a check mark in the criteria the employee meets, and a blank in the areas the employee does not meet.
    Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) are rating scales, which define scale points with specific behavior statements that describes the varying degrees of performance. The scales represent a set of descriptive statements, ranging from the least to the most effective. It combines the elements from critical incident and graphic rating scale approaches. The evaluator must then indicate which behavior on each scale best describes the employee’s performance.

    The challenge with this format is that it doesn’t allow more detailed answers and analysis of the performance criteria, unless combined with another method, such as essay ratings. A sample of a checklist scale is provided in Figure 11.3 "Example of Checklist Scale".

    Figure 11.1 Example of Graphic Rating Scale

    Figure 11.2 Example of Essay Rating

    Figure 11.3 Example of Checklist Scale

    Critical Incident Appraisals

    This method of appraisal, while more time-consuming for the manager, can be effective at providing specific examples of behavior. With a critical incident appraisalA performance evaluation method in which the manager is asked to record examples of effective behavior and ineffective behavior of the employee during the time period between evaluations.

    Behavioral traits that employees exhibit in the workplace - both effective and ineffective, are documented in writing. Employers then analyze these incidents from which a checklist is developed, indicating employee’s critical incidents that either needs praise for successful performance or training for further improvement.

    , the manager records examples of the employee’s effective and ineffective behavior during the time period between evaluations, which is in the behavioral category. When it is time for the employee to be reviewed, the manager will pull out this file and formally record the incidents that occurred over the time period.
    Appraisers may place whatever degree of emphasis on issues or attributes that they feel appropriate. Thus the process is open-ended and very flexible. The appraiser is not locked into an appraisal system the limits expression or assumes that employee traits can be neatly dissected and scaled.

    The disadvantage of this method is the tendency to record only negative incidents instead of postive ones. However, this method can work well if the manager has the proper training to record incidents (perhaps by keeping a weekly diary) in a fair manner.
    The performance appraisal is one of the most important parts of HRM system. Performance appraisal is the method of obtaining, analyzing, and recording evidence about the relative value of a staff to the organization. It is an analysis of a staff's recent performance, advantages and disadvantages, and suitability for training or promotion in the future. Besides rewards allocation, organizations also use appraisals to offer growing advice to employees, as well as to know their perspectives about their positions, departments, supervisors and organizations (Walsh and Fisher, 2005).

    This approach can also work well when specific jobs vary greatly from week to week, unlike, for example, a factory worker who routinely performs the same weekly tasks.

    Work Standards Approach

    For certain jobs in which productivity is most important, a work standards approachA performance evaluation method in which a minimum level of expectation is set and the employee’s performance evaluation is based on this minimum level of productivity.

    As a crucial function of HRM, although there is no consensus on the purpose of performance appraisal, the purpose of performance appraisal is generally identified as to improve current performance, provide feedback, increase motivation, identify training needs, identify potential, let individuals know what is expected of them, focus on career development, award salary increases and solve job problems (Torrington, Hall and Taylor, 2002). Performance appraisal plays a verity of roles in the HRM: it encourages supervisor and staff have regular and organized dialogue, makes the provision of feedback to the employee being assessed comprehensively; it enables to evaluate past and current performance, aims to find out the possibility for improvement and how to achieve it; it identifies the needs of training and individual or professional developmental; it gives advice for promotion and secondment; it is used to decide the performance-based payment.

    could be the more effective way of evaluating employees. With this results-focused approach, a minimum level is set and the employee’s performance evaluation is based on this level. For example, if a sales person does not meet a quota of $1 million, this would be recorded as nonperforming.
    This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

    The downside is that this method does not allow for reasonable deviations. For example, if the quota isn’t made, perhaps the employee just had a bad month but normally performs well. This approach works best in long-term situations, in which a reasonable measure of performance can be over a certain period of time.
    In this paper, some basic concept of performance appraisal will be discussed at the very beginning, the importance of performance appraisal will be discussed after that, issues which leads to ineffective of appraisal will be indicated and a case will also be used to illustrate the importance of performance appraisal.

    This method is also used in manufacuring situations where production is extremely important. For example, in an automotive assembly line, the focus is on how many cars are built in a specified period, and therefore, employee performance is measured this way, too.
    The statement usually concentrates on describing specific strengths and weaknesses in job performance. It also suggests courses of action to remedy the identified problem areas.

    Since this approach is centered on production, it doesn’t allow for rating of other factors, such as ability to work on a team or communication skills, which can be an important part of the job, too.

    Ranking Methods

    In a ranking method systemEmployees in a particular department are ranked based on their value to the manager or supervisor, which is used as a performance evaluation method.

    In the essay method approach, the appraiser prepares a written statement about the employee being appraised.

    (also called stack ranking), employees in a particular department are ranked based on their value to the manager or supervisor. This system is a comparative method for performance evaluations.The manager will have a list of all employees and will first choose the most valuable employee and put that name at the top.
    The essay method is a written narrative assessment for employee performance. The employers indicate the subordinate’s strengths, weaknesses, potentials and areas of improvement in the workplace. A disadvantage of essay appraisals is that they can be very time-consuming, and to a large extent, unstructured. It may also come as discriminatory and susceptible to evaluator bias, which may misrepresent the real picture of the employee or the performance. Critical Incidents are specific behaviors essential to doing a job successfully.

    Then he or she will choose the least valuable employee and put that name at the bottom of the list. With the remaining employees, this process would be repeated. Obviously, there is room for bias with this method, and it may not work well in a larger organization, where managers may not interact with each employee on a day-to-day basis.

    To make this type of evaluation most valuable (and legal), each supervisor should use the same criteria to rank each individual. Otherwise, if criteria are not clearly developed, validity and halo effects could be present. The Roper v. Exxon Corp case illustrates the need for clear guidelines when using a ranking system. At Exxon, the legal department attorneys were annually evaluated and then ranked based on input from attorneys, supervisors, and clients. Based on the feedback, each attorney for Exxon was ranked based on their relative contribution and performance. Each attorney was given a group percentile rank (ie., 99 percent was the best-performing attorney). When Roper was in the bottom 10 percent for three years and was informed of his separation with the company, he filed an age discrimination lawsuit. The courts found no correlation between age and the lowest-ranking individuals, and because Exxon had a set of established ranking criteria, they won the case.Richard Grote, Forced Ranking: Making Performance Management Work (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005).

    The techniques greatest advantage - freedom of expression - is also its greatest handicap. The varying writing skills of appraisers can upset and distort the whole process. The process is subjective and, in consequence, it is difficult to compare and contrast the results of individuals or to draw any broad conclusions about organizational needs.

    Another consideration is the effect on employee morale should the rankings be made public. If they are not made public, morale issues may still exist, as the perception might be that management has “secret” documents.

    Fortune 500 Focus

    Critics have long said that a forced ranking system can be detrimental to morale; it focuses too much on individual performance as opposed to team performance. Some say a forced ranking system promotes too much competition in the workplace.

    However, many Fortune 500 companies use this system and have found it works for their culture. General Electric (GE) used perhaps one of the most well-known forced ranking systems. In this system, every year managers placed their employees into one of three categories: “A” employees are the top 20 percent, “B” employees are the middle 70 percent, and “C” performers are the bottom 10 percent. In GE’s system, the bottom 10 percent are usually either let go or put on a performance plan. The top 20 percent are given more responsibility and perhaps even promoted. However, even GE has reinvented this stringent forced ranking system. In 2006, it changed the system to remove references to the 20/70/10 split, and GE now presents the curve as a guideline. This gives more freedom for managers to distribute employees in a less stringent manner.“The Struggle to Measure Performance,” BusinessWeek, January 9, 2006, accessed August 15, 2011,

    The advantages of a forced ranking system include that it creates a high-performance work culture and establishes well-defined consequences for not meeting performance standards. In recent research, a forced ranking system seems to correlate well with return on investment to shareholders. For example, the studyLisa Sprenkel, “Forced Ranking: A Good Thing for Business?” Workforce Management, n.d., accessed August 15, 2011, shows that companies who use individual criteria (as opposed to overall performance) to measure performance outperform those who measure performance based on overall company success. To make a ranking system work, it is key to ensure managers have a firm grasp on the criteria on which employees will be ranked. Companies using forced rankings without set criteria open themselves to lawsuits, because it would appear the rankings happen based on favoritism rather than quantifiable performance data. For example, Ford in the past used forced ranking systems but eliminated the system after settling class action lawsuits that claimed discrimination.Mark Lowery, “Forcing the Issue,” Human Resource Executive Online, n.d., accessed August 15, 2011, Conoco also has settled lawsuits over its forced ranking systems, as domestic employees claimed the system favored foreign workers.Mark Lowery, “Forcing the Issue,” Human Resource Executive Online, n.d., accessed August 15, 2011, To avoid these issues, the best way to develop and maintain a forced ranking system is to provide each employee with specific and measurable objectives, and also provide management training so the system is executed in a fair, quantifiable manner.

    In a forced distribution system, like the one used by GE, employees are ranked in groups based on high performers, average performers, and nonperformers. The trouble with this system is that it does not consider that all employees could be in the top two categories, high or average performers, and requires that some employees be put in the nonperforming category.

    In a paired comparison system, the manager must compare every employee with every other employee within the department or work group. Each employee is compared with another, and out of the two, the higher performer is given a score of 1. Once all the pairs are compared, the scores are added. This method takes a lot of time and, again, must have specific criteria attached to it when comparing employees.

    Human Resource Recall

    How can you make sure the performance appraisal ties into a specific job description?

    Management by Objectives (MBO)

    Management by objectives (MBOs)A type of performance appraisal in which the manager and employee work together to develop objectives, and at the end of the period the employee is measured on whether he or she met the objectives. is a concept developed by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management.Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management (New York: Harper, 2006). This method is results oriented and similar to the work standards approach, with a few differences. First, the manager and employee sit down together and develop objectives for the time period. Then when it is time for the performance evaluation, the manager and employee sit down to review the goals that were set and determine whether they were met. The advantage of this is the open communication between the manager and the employee. The employee also has “buy-in” since he or she helped set the goals, and the evaluation can be used as a method for further skill development. This method is best applied for positions that are not routine and require a higher level of thinking to perform the job. To be efficient at MBOs, the managers and employee should be able to write strong objectives. To write objectives, they should be SMART:George T. Doran, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives,” Management Review 70, no. 11 (1981): 35.

    1. Specific. There should be one key result for each MBO.
    2. What is the result that should be achieved?
    3. Measurable. At the end of the time period, it should be clear if the goal was met or not. Usually a number can be attached to an objective to make it measurable, for example “sell $1,000,000 of new business in the third quarter.”
    4. Attainable. The objective should not be impossible to attain. It should be challenging, but not impossible.
    5. Result oriented. The objective should be tied to the company’s mission and values. Once the objective is made, it should make a difference in the organization as a whole.
    6. Time limited. The objective should have a reasonable time to be accomplished, but not too much time.
    7. An example of how to work with an employee to set MBOs.

    To make MBOs an effective performance evaluation tool, it is a good idea to train managers and determine which job positions could benefit most from this type of method. You may find that for some more routine positions, such as administrative assistants, another method could work better.

    Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)

    A BARS method first determines the main performance dimensions of the job, for example, interpersonal relationships. Then the tool utilizes narrative information, such as from a critical incidents file, and assigns quantified ranks to each expected behavior. In this system, there is a specific narrative outlining what exemplifies a “good” and “poor” behavior for each category. The advantage of this type of system is that it focuses on the desired behaviors that are important to complete a task or perform a specific job. This method combines a graphic rating scale with a critical incidents system. The US Army Research InstituteJennifer Phillips, Jennifer Shafter, Karol Ross, Donald Cox, and Scott Shadrick, Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales for the Assessment of Tactical Thinking Mental Models (Research Report 1854), June 2006, US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, accessed August 15, 2011, developed a BARS scale to measure the abilities of tactical thinking skills for combat leaders. Figure 11.4 "Example of BARS" provides an example of how the Army measures these skills.

    Figure 11.4 Example of BARS

    Figure 11.5 More Examples of Performance Appraisal Types

    How Would You Handle This?

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    You were just promoted to manager of a high-end retail store. As you are sorting through your responsibilities, you receive an e-mail from HR outlining the process for performance evaluations. You are also notified that you must give two performance evaluations within the next two weeks. This concerns you, because you don’t know any of the employees and their abilities yet. You aren’t sure if you should base their performance on what you see in a short time period or if you should ask other employees for their thoughts on their peers’ performance. As you go through the files on the computer, you find a critical incident file left from the previous manager, and you think this might help. As you look through it, it is obvious the past manager had “favorite” employees and you aren’t sure if you should base the evaluations on this information. How would you handle this?

    How Would You Handle This?

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