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Appraisal concerns


At the moment our appraisal system comes under a lot of fire from the appraisees for being badly managed and biased. The current system involves marking people as a high, average or low against each competency found on the job description, and completely depends on your personal opinion of the person. Does anyone out there know of a system we could adopt which minimises the room for bias?
Helen Marshall

8 Responses

  1. Appraisal Systems
    I have an article I wrote on this very topic Ms Marshall very recently for the Training Journal, in it I refer to the 3 key issues of effective appraisal systems:

    1. Appraising the right areas.
    2. Calibrating responses, i.e. ensuring all the managers are marking fairly and squarely.
    3. Doing something useful with the data once its collected.

    And I also explain how you can deal with all these issues. I would be very happy to send you a copy via e mail. Send me an e mail address and I shall forward it to you.

    Garry Platt
    [email protected]

  2. Appraisals are difficult

    Appraisals are one of the most difficult things to get right

    I would be happy to send you some checklists that identify the difficulties and provide practical tips to help managers make it a meaningful activity

    Also happy to share a few experiences

    [email protected]

  3. Measuring Objectively
    With trainers, I think it is possible to have objective measurements. We use a clear set that are tied into our business objectives:

    – Quality (measured by evaluations)
    – Income (generated by the courses they teach)
    – Development (points awarded for each new course they are able to teach)
    – Support (measured by peer appraisal)

    This doesn’t cover everything (notably special projects and responsibilities) but does provide a clear objective basis. People know what they have to achieve and how tehy have been appraised.

    Best wishes


  4. Some ideas
    Hi Helen

    Consider a numbering system as opposed to high, medium and low. Add all the numbers together and divide by the number of categories to give a score. YOU can then determine the criteria for high, medium and low scores. The added advantage, is that it lends itself to an easier comparison ‘across the board’

    Ensure the assessing manager keeps notes throughout the year (with the consent of the individual) and if accusations of bias exist the ‘evidence’ is available (see below)

    Instead of an annual interview (if this is the case) have informal discussions more frequently and take notes (this may highlight and possibly avoid ‘grey’ areas)

    As multi tasking is now the norm, discuss these issues with staff and, if necessary, amend the appraisal form to reflect key areas (you could even ask them to design a new form)

    As personal development is the key to success in any workplace, ensure a facility exists within the appraisal form for staff to make comments (this often highlights areas of discontent)

    Introduce a ‘brainstorm’ board or flip chart in a public area, for staff to suggest company or customer service improvements. When managers complete the appraisal form, any ideas (implemented or not) should be included

    Use psychology! Ask employees to appraise themselves and discuss the differing opinions, the results will be very interesting – human nature prevails

    I hope this information may be of some assistance, or at least food for thought. If you require any more ideas or information, drop me an e-mail.

    Clive O’Donnell

    [email protected]

  5. objectivity is subjective!
    It seems that your system does not inlude examples of behaviours that demonstrate the competencies. Adding these may help the appraiser to think back on an incident basis. You might like to ask for specific examples of how the appraisee has met or not met the requireents of the competence to support their decision on the ranking scale.
    I am firmly of the belief that objectivity is subjective! we are individuals with our own experiences and knowledge and even the most sophisticated system cannot design that out.
    good luck!

  6. Minimising room for bias effectively
    Helen, I recommend you contact Stewart Desson, who is a trainer and with his knowledge I think will be able to help you to minimise the room for bias effectively and appraise non judgementally. He can be contacted on 01189 784498.

    Karen Whiles

  7. Appraisal concerns
    Helen, I have implemented performance management structures in a number of companies. The appraisal was always only one part of the structure – and in those companies where it was the main/only part was never successful, despite everyone’s best intentions.

    I am reluctant to give advice from the brief comments you provide. If you want to have a chat, please feel free to call me/email to see if my experiences can help you.

    Paul Grace
    [email protected]


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