Using appraisal rating scales
There’s no ‘correct’ way to use appraisal rating scales or to assess the performance of employees during the appraisal and performance management process. However, there are a number of options to consider. We advise that you choose the option(s) that best suit your organisation’s performance management objectives and also your culture. Our appraisal experts can assist you with this.
To rate or assess employee performance, your organisation could use one or a combination of the following types of rating scales in the appraisal form template;
Hierarchical appraisal rating scales or scoring system (sometimes known as bipolar)
Employees’ levels of performance are considered and rated in relation to their role, responsibilities and, if incorporated, your competency framework.
Employees’ performance is rated using numbered or graded assessment criteria on the rating scale. For example, numbers could be used from one to six, with one being excellent and six unacceptable or gradings may be preferred using words; perhaps ‘excellent’ through to ‘poor’.
Numbered or graded assessment criteria are simple to devise and easy to understand for users. However, there is always the risk that some appraisers may be ‘stricter’ and therefore perhaps, less generous with their scoring than others. There is also a possibility that appraisers may have a tendency to use the middle numbers or criteria when scoring employees because not wishing to push the boundaries at either end of the scoring system.
However, one of the benefits of this type of rating system is that it is structured, standardised and consistent – all employees are assessed using the same scoring criteria.
Download this essential Performance Appraisal Guide. A handy list of the key actions to take when preparing for the appraisal, during the appraisal meeting and throughout the year.
Achievement of objectives
Employees are assessed against the achievement of personal objectives set during the previous year’s appraisal. For this process to be successful and meaningful, it is essential that appraisers have a thorough grasp of the skills required for professional objective setting. Otherwise, appraisers may struggle to substantiate their viewpoint and appraisees may not feel that they have been assessed fairly and objectively.
Appraisers will also have to organised and methodical in their approach if they use the achievement of objectives as to assess performance. For example, some objectives may be ‘annual’ objectives – they may have been set for achievement in the shorter term during the past year. These shorter term objectives must also be incorporated in the appraisal process for assessment purposes to ensure a rounded and comprehensive performance review.
Performance based rating scales
The appraiser keeps a record of key performance events during the year. These refer to specific examples of good or bad performance. These records form the basis of the appraisal and the feedback provided by the appraiser.
This method of assessment requires appraisers to be efficient and organised throughout the year to ensure that relevant events are captured and recorded. It helps to ensure that the appraisal really is an ‘annual’ review because appraisers reflect on the employee’s performance over the whole year rather just the last few months that they can ‘remember’. This method also ensures that employees are judged on fact rather than a scoring system that may lead to subjectivity.