Performance Appraisal Biases are favouritism of subordinates by ignoring the ethical process of appraisal. These biases diminish productivity of other employees. Performance Appraisal Biases is not a new term in personnel management. It is still in vogue during discussions because of its vulnerability if not exercised well by the managers.
There are several books, management reviews, blogs that train the managers on how to evaluate the performance of their subordinates. However, they are only indicative and performance evaluation is being done with a mixed basket of thoughts for actual performance and their personal inlinationation towards any quality of an employee whether it is good or bad.
This inclination is basically termed as biases. Biases tend a manager to mould performance evaluation mechanism for his subordinate totally basis on his likeness.
Types of Performance Appraisal Biases
Though biases in Performance Appraisal or performance evaluation are not encouraged, yet they place themselves in the mind of appraiser naturally. There are many evidences of performance appraisal biases at office and workplace and the same are listed below:
1. Halo Effect:
In the Halo Effect Bias, Manager evaluates the performance basis qualities that are possessed by his subordinate. Employee may have many good or bad qualities, but his performance is evaluated only by few qualities by the manager by ignoring his performance in remaining heads.
In other words, let say an employee is very good in oratory skills and always make the management feel his presence by his impressive communication. On the other hand he is not at all good in office and has his hand tight on technical tasks. Still, he is rated best among others basis the only quality of good communication skill and his reach to higher management.
In Halo Effect, there is always a tendency to rate the subordinate uniformly high or low in remaining parameters if he has some extraordinary high or low qualities in any one or two performance parameters. In this case manager rate high to his employee irrespective of his low performance in other parameters. Vise-versa, The same is also true for low rating even after high overall performance scored by an employee.
2. Horn Effect:
In the Horn Effect Bias, Manager evaluates the performance basis negative qualities that are possessed by his subordinate. Employee may have many good qualities, but his performance is evaluated by few bad qualities.
Let say an employee is very good in the execution of any task assigned to him. However, he is casual in approach and avoid himself from work as far as possible. This develops a preconceived thought in manager’s mind and manager rates his subordinate with low grades irrespective of his good performance.
3. Gender Biases:
In performance appraisal bias, ‘Gender Bias’ is unique. As the name suggest, gender bias is seen where manager rates her or his subordinate according to their gender.
When Appraiser is Male and his subordinate is female, there are most likely chances that she will be rated best among all other colleagues for similar types of jobs.
4. Primacy Effect:
We are very familiar with the phrase ‘First Impression is the last impression’. It can be clearly observed in Primacy effect bias.
When any new entrant achieves his goal with great enthusiasm and with short span of time, his manager becomes very pleased. He never goes into the depth and quality of the work performed by his subordinate. Manager only assume that ‘Yes! He has accomplished his task’
Basis first impression, manager preoccupies his mind to rate his subordinate with good grades at the end of the year. He ignores or pretend to ignore subordinate’s performance that are not inline with the targets.
5. Central Tendency:
There are many Managers who do not want to lose his subordinates by judging their performance at extreme. They generally adopt a middle way to rate his subordinates by giving average rating to all of them.
Giving average rating to all subordinates is rather a win-win situation for a manager and his subordinates. This avoids the state of conflicts among them.
6. Recency Effect:
Those who are working in any organisation must have seen the impact on their performance appraisal, when things have gone wrong during the period of performance appraisal evaluation.
In this performance appraisal bias, rating is influenced by the most recent behaviour or action of an employee. Actions, achievements of the past are ignored and subordinates are rated basis most recent performance.
Recency effect is just ‘luck’ for an employee. If he has performed well in the past but during appraisal period he has argued with his customers or manager for the interest of the corporation, his performance for the year is rated as underperformed. The same is true for opposite sense also.
7. Spillover Effect:
Good performers will always be good performers and bad performers will always be bad performers. I am not saying this, but the theory of Spillover Effect says this.
In performance appraisal bias, ‘Spillover effect’ can be seen where present performance of the appraisee is evaluated much basis his past performance. In any organisation there are several examples of spillover effect where some employees are rated 2 continuously and some employees are rated 1.
Spillover effect spoil the motivation among underrated performers who finally assume that they will never be rated high even if they outperform. With this thought, they never try to come up from their den and work with the same pace all their life.
In this article we read various types of Performance Appraisal Biases that have profound effects on the employee’s motivation if bias is repetitive in nature. Employees become hopeless, disappointed & less productive. So, for a manager it is very necessary to avoid all types of performance appraisal biases.
Manager must seed the positivity in work with frank and fair appraisal mechanism. He should sit with his subordinates and discuss various aspects where they are lacking. He should be ready to help his subordinates in tough times and curtail the possibility of stress among subordinates at work to enhance productivity.