5 Practical Ways To Avoid Biased Appraisals That Actually Work!

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Appraisals make employees feel valued and appreciated, but not all!

For some, appraisals bear sweet fruits and for some sour. While it is the time to celebrate for the employees who were satisfied with their appraisal meeting, the number of dissatisfied employees is mostly higher. In retaliation, the unhappy ones start talking about how bias their manager is, how bad the company is and some even start looking for a job change. This not only disrupts the environment and affects productivity adversely but also influences the new joiners and existing employees in a negative manner.

The only real question that must be addressed at this time is- Were the appraisals biased or were they not? No matter what you feel, you have nothing concrete to support your say. Both the employees and the managers want to support their stance but all goes in vain! And above all, it could be anything- The employees’ performance may not have been satisfactory enough or the manager may have been biased unintentionally during ‘The TIME’.

Through this blog, we strive to make you as a senior/manager aware of the kind of biases you may be doing unintentionally with ways to not repeat them ever again! In order to conduct appraisals for your employees, you must avoid the following.

#Reason 1- You take seat time too seriously

Smoke breaks, chat breaks, tea breaks, and sorts are not a measure of performance. If you end up confusing the number of hours a person is seen seated to productivity, you must rethink. According to a stat, employees who were on a break for 30% of the day at work were found to be the highest performing ones. The mind and body get more refreshed and ready to work again. So, understand that working in concentrated bursts is alright and calls for a break that such employees deserve by all means. 

Seat Time ≠ Productivity

#Solution 1- Resolute to using 360-degree and continuous feedback
The only way to stop yourself from spying on your employees using the attendance management software or keeping an eye on them literally is to follow a combination of 360-degree feedback and continuous feedback. Not only will this introduce a process, but it will also define goals in such a way that they will be measurable. This will also empower the employees to rate each other, get feedback from the customers and others while the manager will also be able to continuously share feedback with the employees and track their progress and goal achievement. Seeing results and progress whenever, wherever will give managers a better picture and their focus will automatically shift from seat time to results!

#Reason2- You end up believing the gossip grapevines

There will always be individuals in your team who would be more amiable and the ones who come, work and leave. But, as a manager, you have to be neutral when it comes to judging the employees and the basis of their work. Don’t let no one impact your perception about a team member’s work. In fact, don’t create a perception at all. When you get influenced by what you hear about someone, it ends up making you bias at the time of appraisal.

#Solution 2- Believe in numbers and not gossip grapevines
The KRAs and KPIs set help you in classifying the employees as low performers, average performers, and high performers. With measurable statistics, the manager will find it easier to not rely on the things he gets to hear about individuals’ work and life but the numbers. 

#Reason 3-You give feedback according to the recent activities

Recency is the word used for this kind of bias. When an employee is judged on the basis of his recent behavior at work, it is said that he is judged on the basis of recency and is a strong example of sheer unintentional biases. The recent good or bad incident makes you overlook your employee’s year-round performance.

#Solution 3- Analyse the year-round performance
Judging an employee on the basis of the recency is so unfair. Using a performance and attendance management software will help in maintaining the data of all the good, the bad and the best for you to see and not get influenced by the recent good or bad incident.  

#Reason 4-You ignore all the bad and let one good blind you (vice versa)

You let one good or bad thing about the employee blind you of all the bad or good skills they have, respectively. For instance, a content writer whose blog rank well but he or she has the worst of soft skills and most of the time is the one fueling the fights should not be given great feedback or appraisal. However, you let the good in them blind you! So, don’t fall prey to the Halo and Horn biases. 

#Solution 4- Create a qualitative and quantitative blend for performance evaluation
It is pivotal to evaluate the performance of employees on the basis or soft skills and hard skills. So, apart from the goals set, the badge and rating feature should also be leveraged. A portion of these two should also become a part of the review.

#Reason 5-You end up comparing the employees

When you unknowingly or knowingly begin comparing the performance of employees, chances are you can end up keeping a well-performing employee at the bottom of the chronology. This type of bias is called contrast and makes you bias ultimately. Make sure you compare the performance of the employees against the standards set and not the other employees.

#Solution 5- Invest in the best performance management software
Performance management software empowers managers to review employees continuously without meeting them actually. The employees can initiate something and ask for ratings and feedback from anyone from an employee to the stakeholders. Transparency, clarity, and communication rise. Managers or employees can create one on ones when they feel the need for it.

And finally, use the 9-Box Matrix

In your review meetings, you must use the 9 box Matrix feature that is exclusive to just a few software. It is a grid that shows the growth potential and the current potential of personnel in an organization. The vertical grid signifies the potential to grow and the horizontal grid makes it clear if the person is below, above or at par with the performance standards of your organization. The point where the grid intersects shows the area where development is required.

Pledge to shun biased appraisals forever, Happy Fair Appraising! 

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Sukriti Saini

Sukriti Saini works as a content marketing strategist at HROne. She has done Bachelors in Journalism from Delhi University and carries several years of experience in content development. HR trends, Productivity, Performance and topics related to Employee Engagement garner most of her writing interest here. During leisure, she loves to write and talk about fashion, food & life.

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