Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Sources of employee performance ratings, part of Performance Review Foundations.
The backbone of any appraisal process, is the collection and evaluation of performance data about the employee in question. Your goal for any measure you use, is to ensure they are reliable, valid and relevant. Reliability means they're consistent predictors. Valid means they measure what they say they measure. And relevant means that what was measured was clearly related to performance in the job. Now, before we get started don't forget that it's very important to have a well trained expert help you select and approve the measures, you'll use for the employee appraisal process.
This not only ensures a more productive system, but it also helps cover you later if you ever, unfortunately, find yourself needing to defend your choices in court. Okay, there are three main types of things that you might want to measure. Traits, behaviors and outcomes. Let's start with traits. Here, we're generally referring to aspects of one's personality or attitudes. The questions here is whether or not we can measure personality traits and attitudes and can consider them useful and reliable indicators of job performance.
The short answer is that it's difficult. In practice, it's still common to see traits used. For example, showing enthusiasm. However, it's important to know that if you're ever asked to defend their use, it can be hard to do so. Next is the more defensible category, we'll call Behaviors. This refers to things people say and do. Since they are observable, they tend to be more reliable compared to traits. And research suggests, that employees use performance appraisals based on behaviors as much more just and fair, compared to those relying more on traits. Finally, we have outcome feedback.
This refers to the results the person has achieved, or failed to achieve. So think about the goals they obtained, projects completed, clients landed, sales made and so on. Like behaviors this category is generally considered reliable and valid and again employees tend to see outcome measures as fair and acceptable for appraisal purposes. You might be asking, well, what specific type of trait or behavior or outcome do I want to measure. It's a great question. The outcome feedback is driven by your goal-setting process and the subsequent work that was created as a result.
The traits and behaviors you'll want to measure will be driven by your leadership competency model. All right, so now you know what you're looking for, but where do you find all of this data? The main sources for these types of performance data are company records, ratings provided by the employee, ratings you provide as the boss, peer ratings, 360 evaluations, and any relevant client or customer ratings. Keep in mind that nearly all of these sources could be used to collect trait, behavior, or outcome feedback.
First, company personnel records are a great place to start for many jobs and will include data such as, attendance and instances of being late to work. Next, are the very commonly used self-assessments. Here, individuals evaluate their own behavior and job performance. There's a risk here, that employees will be biased towards positive ratings. But when used as one data point among a good handful, it's not a problem. Then we have your ratings as the person's manager.
As the boss, of course you are very qualified to provide those ratings. Of course, the more people you manage, the more difficult it is to keep up with every employee. Which is why you've got to trust a system that uses multiple data points. It's also common to seek peer input. While your knowledge of one employee might sometimes be limited, there are typically a small number of peers with whom the person works, who have lots of exposure to the person, and can serve as a well informed source of feedback. Next is a tool that has become very popular in the last couple of decades, the 360 degree evaluation.
Often just referred to as a 360. The 360 became popular as more and more companies recognized how useful it is to collect data points from many different sources, from below the employee on their peer level, and above them in the chain of command. To accommodate this process, many types of software have been created to automate the process by, for example, allowing employees to nominate different raters to take part, and by automatically distributing all of the feedback to the next person in the process when it's time.
Because of modern technology, 360s are now very common. Finally, some jobs lend themselves to outcome feedback in the form of client or customer input. This might include simple satisfaction surveys or sometimes narrative and qualitative data. And without too much effort, it can be integrated into your existing system. It's important to note that you don't have to use all of these different measures and approaches. The more you use, the better able you'll be to correctly evaluate an employee. But it's also true that with each new measure you're creating bureaucracy and overhead.
That's time and dollars that could have been spent elsewhere in your business. So try to remember that less is sometimes more. And if you use a 360, try to resist allowing it to grow endlessly. Keep it focused. There you go. Now you know the types of data you're collecting, and where to find it. Just remember to use a small variety of approaches. And don't forget to use a well credential expert, whether an internal HR professional, or an outside consultant. That way, you won't be wasting time.
You'll be building an evaluation system, that measures performance correctly and motivates your employees.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The information contained in the following course is provided with the viewer's understanding that the course should not be used as a substitute for consulting a human resource professional at your company for specific guidance. Lynda.com and LinkedIn expressly disclaim liability for any damages, loss, or risk, incurred as a direct or indirect consequence, from the use and application of any content herein.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Understanding the performance cycle
- Setting performance goals
- Collecting performance data and feedback
- Writing the review
- Discussing performance with an employee
- Using a performance improvement plan (PIP)<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.