Common Appraisal Methods 1: Critical Incident, Graphic Rating Scale & BARS

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

An employee's work performance can be assessed in several ways. Explore the three common appraisal methods: critical incident, graphic rating scale, and behaviorally anchored rating scale, or BARS. Updated: 10/05/2021

Critical Incident

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.

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  • 0:02 Critical Incident
  • 1:15 Graphic Rating Scales
  • 1:57 BARS
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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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.

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