Supervisors’ Role in Performance Appraisals
Management’s top responsibilities when it comes to performance evaluations are writing evaluations of their direct reports for 85.6% of survey participants, followed closely by setting goals for/with employees for 78.3%, conducting review meetings for 75.3%, and coaching employees for improved performance for 75.3%. Finishing out the field is reviewing evaluations prepared by their direct reports for their own employees (64.6%), deciding employee salary raises (50.8%), and providing input to other supervisors on their direct reports (40.5%).
The errors performance evaluators make include: not completing the evaluation (13.8%), halo effect (18.6%), and horn effect (12.3%). The three most common errors are:
- Not following up with the employee to check on progress, 40.1%
- Not wanting to hurt feelings or overrating so it places all employees in the middle of the scale, 40%
- Focusing on the most recent performance rather than on the entire review period, 38.9%
|Supervisor’s Error||Percent reporting that error|
|Rater does not follow up with employee after evaluation to check on progress||40.1%|
|Central tendency (Rater doesn’t want to hurt feelings or overrates so places all employees in the middle of the scale.)||40.0%|
|Recent effect (Rater focuses on most recent rather than entire review period.)||38.9%|
|Rater is late completing evaluations||38.3%|
|Leniency effect (Rater overrates to avoid making enemies.)||37.6%|
|Rater does not include details on why employee was rated a certain way||37.4%|
|Rater does not include a plan for improvement||25.5%|
|Halo effect (Rater evaluates overall performance based on a single area in which the employee excels.)||18.6%|
|Perceptual bias (Raters base rating on their own perception of what is right or wrong or acceptable.)||16.4%|
|Rater does not complete the evaluations||13.8%|
|Primacy effect (Rater focuses on a good or bad incident from when the employee first came under his/her supervision.)||13.8%|
|Just like me tendency (Overrates employees who share his/her own interests/beliefs.)||12.6%|
|Horn effect (Rater underrates overall performance based on a single negative impression of the employee.)||12.3%|
Implementation of Performance Appraisals
When asked how they’ve successfully implemented performance appraisal programs, survey participants provided several helpful hints, including:
- Publish a performance calendar at the onset of the year.
- Personal follow-up with delinquent supervisors/managers.
- Inform department directors of delinquent reviews.
- Send CEO an overall status report on ratings, including who has not completed their reviews.
- Offer assistance as needed; train individually as requested.
- Tie to supervisor/manager job performance.
- View the process as developmental, not punitive.
- Make evaluation forms shorter.
- Tie all bonus disbursement for team to completion.
- Allow enough time to complete evaluations and support where needed.
- Automate the process.
HR’s responsibility for the performance appraisal process varies but several functions were widely practiced, including:
- Formal training for supervisors/evaluators, 50.8%;
- Reviewing all evaluations, 54.5%;
- Filing the paperwork, 56.9%; and
- Informal coaching for supervisors/evaluators, 60.3%.
Additionally, for 40.7% of survey participants, HR screens performance evaluations for anything that might be illegal before supervisors/managers meet with employees.
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Evaluations are tied to most salary increases for 47%, are completely separate for 21.9%, and are partially tied together for 31.1%. Those who separate evaluations from increases do so because:
- A union agreement governs pay increases, 7.8%.
- Evaluations are conducted more frequently than raises are issued, 9.9%.
- Employee pay increases are on a different schedule than evaluations, 16.5%.
- They fear supervisors will be tempted to give good yet false appraisals so employees receive a good raise, 18.1%.
- Budget doesn’t allow for raises every time employees receive evaluations, 18.2%.
- Appraisals are more valuable and constructive if raises aren’t tied to them, 19.5%.
- It helps keep employees from having an entitlement mentality (evaluation = raise), 26.1%.
- They want to focus attention on employee performance instead of on amount of raise, 32.7%.
Appraisals Under Pay Freezes
Even if salary increases are not an option due to pay freezes or some other reason, 84.6% of survey participants still conduct performance appraisals.
Performance Pay by Employee Type
|Type of Pay||Execu-tive||Middle management||Profes-sional||Exempt staff||Non-exempt staff|
Group Performance Pay by Employee Type
|Type of Pay Executive||Middle management||Professional||Exempt staff||Non-exempt staff|
Demographic breakouts of the 1481 participants in the survey are below.
|Number of Employees||Percent of Respondents|
|Up to 250 employees||57.4%|
|251 to 1,000 employees||22.9%|
|1,001 to 10,000 employees||16.9%|
|More than 10,000 employees||2.8%|
Of the participants responding to our survey, 39.4% have a workforce that is one-fifth or less exempt employees. Another 32.8% have a workforce that is more than one-fifth but less than one-half exempt, and 27.8% have a workforce with more than one-half exempt employees. Unions represent employees at 22.2% of our survey participant employers.
Privately owned organizations are represented by 47.8% of survey participants and nonprofits account for 18.7%. Public corporations make up 8.6% and governments are represented by 10.1%.
Industries include manufacturing (15.4%); health care and social assistance (13.7%); finance and insurance (9.8%); and professional, technical, and scientific services (8.1%). Educational services represent 6.9% of our survey participants and retail trade accounts for 2.3%.
Our 1,481 survey participants’ positions are:
|Job Title||Percent of Respondents|
|HR VP or above||9.2%|
Thanks again to everyone who participated!
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