Are employee ratings useful in improving individual employee performance?

May We Recommend...

A major flaw with employee rating systems used as the main part of the annual review has to do with the limited information they give to employees to help them improve their performance. So, unfortunately, rating systems, while they often anger employees, don't give enough specific feedback during annual reviews, to help the employee become a better employee.

Research in learning and behavior change tells us that for a person to change their behavior (or become more effective), they need specific information, or feedback about a) what they need to stop doing and b) what they need to start doing. In other words they need to know, in very specific terms, what they might be doing that is ineffective, and what alternative behaviors they can use instead.

Rating systems almost never result in the employee getting that information. The information is simply not precise or exact enough. The result is rating systems don't help employees improve, on their own.

So, if you have to use a rating system that doesn't reference specific behaviors, you can still help employees improve by adding some. Don't rely on the ratings themselves, but use them to start a conversation about what the employee might consider changing in order to be more effective. This alters the tone of the annual review from something like a kindergarden report card to something that contains enough specific information to help the employee improve.



About Company

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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We Believe

  • 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.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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