What Is BARS (Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales)

BARS refers to Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scales. It was developed by Smith and Kendall to provide a better method of rating employees. It differs from "standard" rating scales in one central respect, in that it focuses on behaviors that are determined to be important for completing a job task or doing the job properly, rather than looking at more general employee characteristics (e.g. personality, vague work habits).

So, rather than having a rating item that says: Answers phone promptly and courteously, a BARS approach may break down that task into behaviors: For example:

Notice how the BARS items are describe the important BEHAVIORS. Once those behaviors are identified for a particularly job, or employee, the items can be used to base a numerical or performance label on, let's say a five point, or seven point scale.

See Also: Are Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales Superior To More General Approaches?