Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.
Tanya has just been hired as a human resource specialist for a toy manufacturing company located in the Midwest. Lisa is her mentor, and they are meeting today to discuss the different performance appraisal methods that the company utilizes to assess employee performance. They start with the critical incident method.
Lisa explains that the critical incident method records samples of an employee's good performance and bad performance as each relates to performance objectives that have been previously set for the employee. This method is also referred to as work sampling. Lisa explains that it requires careful observation and recording of a representative sample of an employee's performance. If care is not taken to record a representative sample, the results will be distorted and give an incorrect impression of performance.
Tanya asked for an example, and Lisa's happy to provide one. Let's say a team leader is assessing her technical support team. The team leader has carefully monitored the team and recorded several samples of each time the team flawlessly solved a complicated network problem and several samples of times that the team was not able to solve the problem without some obstacles. During the team's performance review, the samples will be discussed and assessed to help form the basis for any corrective action.
Graphic Rating Scales
Lisa then tells Tanya about the use of graphic rating scales. A graphic rating scale lists a series of traits that the company deems to be valuable for the effective performance, and the rater rates the employee along a scale depending upon how well the employee has exhibited the trait. These types of appraisals are pretty easy to design and use. They allow employers to make quantitative comparisons between the scores achieved by different employees.
Tanya asks for another example, and Lisa is happy to oblige. Lisa explains that an employee may be rated on work ethic, quality of work, initiative and teamwork with a scale ranging from nonexistent, below average, average, above average and excellent.
The last performance appraisal method discussed during their meeting is the behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) method. The BARS method takes aspects from both the graphic rating scales and the critical incident method. The method consists of developing a set of performance standards for a specific job based upon a job analysis and behaviors identified in a critical incident analysis. Each standard is then assigned a scale with point values based upon expert opinions. The unit of analysis is an employee's behavior instead of an employee's traits or characteristics. Lisa can see that Tanya is a bit confused, so she provides an example.
Let's say that the company knows that cold calling is a necessary behavior for a successful salesperson. The company bases this on a job analysis it performed as well as review of critical incident assessments. A vertical point scale is developed for cold calling:
- Non-existent, consisting of no calls a day and worth zero points
- Very poor, consisting of 1 to 8 calls a day, worth 1 point
- Poor, consisting of 9 to 15 calls a day, worth 2 points
- Below average, consisting of 16 to 24 calls a day, worth 3 points
- Average, consisting of 25 to 30 calls a day, worth 4 points
- Above average, consisting of 31 to 35 calls a day, worth 5 points
- Good, consisting of 36 to 49 calls a day, worth 6 points
- Excellent, consisting of 50 or more calls a day, worth 7 points
The point values were developed from research results from experts in sales training and were validated through examination of successful samples from critical incident assessments. In other words, company employees that cold called were more successful at sales.
Let's review what we've learned. Different methods of performance appraisals have been developed to assess performance. The critical incident method focuses on taking a representative sample of an employee's performance relating to predetermined objectives. The graphic rating scale method lists characteristics that are viewed as valuable for effective performance, and an employee is rated on each of the characteristics. BARS is an appraisal method that focuses on rating an employee based upon behaviors that are indicative of good performance according to job analysis and critical incident assessments.
You should be able to describe the critical incident method, the graphic rating scale and the BARS method of performance appraisal after reviewing this lesson.
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