What Is The Halo Effect Bias?

The halo effect bias refers to a tendency form people to form a generalized positive impression of an employee, and rate the employee highly on all rating criteria even if the employee really doesn't deserve a high rating for every one. In other words, the manager thinks highly of an employee and rather than rate independently for each item, the manager inflates the ratings.

The result is that the ratings become inflated, and inaccurate, at least for some items. The problem with this is that an employee may receive feedback on some items that do not help him or her improve.

The best solution is a) for the manager to be aware of this possible bias, and b) to see each rating item as independent from all other iterms.

Obviously, the extent to which a manager is influenced byh the halo effect bias will vary from manager to manager, and even for any one manager, from employee to employee.

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Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
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  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?