HR Management & Compliance

The 10 Most Common PA Rating Errors

In yesterday’s Advisor, Attorney Tom Makris and Consultant Rhoma Young offered real world tips for improving performance appraisals. Today, Consultant Sharon Armstrong details the 10 most common rating errors.

Most HR professionals look forward to conducting annual performance reviews about as much as a trip to the dentist, but as the economy improves, performance appraisals are going to be the key for talent retention, a positive work environment, and the overall growth and productivity of your organization.

That said, there are also pitfalls to avoid when conducting your performance reviews. In today’s Advisor, we’ll get tips from experts on how to make performance appraisals more meaningful for the company, the manager, and the employee.

In a BLR® webinar titled “Stress-Free Performance Appraisals: Increase Productivity, Engage Employees, and Retain Top Talent,” Sharon Armstrong outlined 10 rating errors to avoid.

Armstrong is a human resources consultant, trainer, and career counselor, in business since 1998 as Sharon Armstrong and Associates.


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10 Rating Errors to Avoid During Performance Reviews

Rating errors are factors that mislead or blind us in the appraisal process. Armstrong warned that “appraisers must be on guard against anything that distorts reality, either favorably or unfavorably.” These are the 10 rating errors seen most often. They’re where managers and other raters are most likely to go offtrack.

  1. Central tendency. Clustering everyone in the middle performance categories to avoid extremes of good or bad performance; it’s easy, but it’s wrong. This isn’t fair to employees who are really making an effort, and it can be demoralizing.
  2. Favoritism. Overlooking the flaws of favored or “nice” employees, especially those whom everyone likes.
  3. Grouping. Excusing below-standard performance because it is widespread; “Everyone does it.”
  4. Guilt by association. Rating someone on the basis of the company they keep, rather than on the work they do.
  5. The halo effect. Letting one positive work factor you like affect your overall assessment of performance.
  6. Holding a grudge. A dangerous luxury that may result in your ending up in court. Never try to make employees pay for past behavior.
  7. The horns effect. The opposite of the halo effect—letting one negative work factor or behavior you dislike color your opinion of other factors.
  8. Bias. Allowing your bias to influence the rating. Bias can come from attitudes and opinions about race, national origin, sex, religion, age, veterans’ status, disability, hair color, weight, height, intelligence, etc.
  9. Recency. Rating only recent performance, good or bad. Data should be representative of the entire review period. If you’re not keeping good notes, you may not remember the whole period. Armstrong noted that “you want to make sure, again, that you’re keeping records so that you can adequately describe performance over an entire performance period.”
  10. The sunflower effect. Rating everyone high, regardless of performance, to make yourself look good or to be able to give more compensation.

These and other rating errors can cause your entire performance review program to lose credibility among your employees. With consistent analysis of the program, you can work to avoid this situation!

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