You are here: DIME Home > Leadership > Myths of the Rating Scale


Myths of the Rating Scale

This article provides ways to prevent common employee evaluation myths from creating a barrier to meaningful and useful discussions with employees about their performance.

Author: Marnie Green
Date: Jun 1, 2011 - 6:55:03 PM


Printer FriendlyPrinter friendly page

There are some wacky ideas out there when it comes to rating employee performance.  If your organization's performance evaluation system uses a rating scale, you have inevitably heard some crazy ideas about performance evaluations. The following "myths" prevent us from using the performance evaluation ratings to improve employee performance. Instead, they detract from focusing on tools and conversations for improving performance.  Have you heard any of these?

  You have to "walk on water" to get the highest rating. This is a common catchphrase that's used in organizations when expectations have not been clearly defined. If a rating appears on the performance evaluation form, it must be possible to achieve. For example, if you use a five-level rating scale with "5" as the highest rating, it's the manager's responsibility to describe what five-level performance looks like. Using crutches like, "you have to walk on water to get a five" is a poor excuse for not being clear about what good performance looks like.

Performance evaluation ratings are an arbitrary judgment. It's true that the final determination about performance ratings is a judgment that is reserved for the supervisor. However, the best supervisors have clearly defined what performance looks like at various levels, and they use those expectations to help employees understand what it means to be successful. Evaluation ratings are arbitrary when leaders don't take the time to define expectations. Only leaders can determine what exceptional performance is at your organization .

Performance ratings allow management to quantify performance. Just because there is a numeric rating scale doesn't mean you've quantified performance. By rating employees and adding up the numbers to determine an overall rating, you will get a score. That score, however, isn't necessarily a valid measure of the performance.

Think of it this way. You calculate a rating for two employees, Joachim and Sherry, based on a 100-point scale. Joachim earns a score of 85.6 and Sherry earns a score of 86.5. Is Sherry really a worse performer than Joachim? Probably not. Unless you have a very automated and measured work environment and you don't consider hard to measure factors like interpersonal relationships, customer service, and problem solving ability, a 0.09 point difference in an overall rating is probably meaningless.

Last year's performance ratings correlate to this year's performance ratings. When you sit down to complete a performance evaluation for an employee, you may be tempted to pull out last year's evaluation and use it to inform this year's evaluation. Don't do it! Performance evaluations are a summary of the work an employee has done during a defined period of time. The ratings should reflect the performance for just that time period. Considering how you rated the employee in the past year only leads you to consider factors that are irrelevant to preparing a summary for the current year.

The Human Resources Department is responsible for defining the rating scale. Your Human Resources Department may administer the performance evaluation process. They may even be the drivers behind your forms, workflows, and rating scale. However, they are not in a position to define how the scale is applied to individual employee performance (unless the individual employee works for HR). Only you, the manager, can decide what performance looks like at various levels on the scale. It's your job to be able to answer the question, "What does it take to earn a '5' on my performance evaluation?"

There should be an equal number of high ratings and low ratings across the organization. Forced distribution of performance ratings creates negative consequences for any organizational culture. When your organization requires that a certain number of employees should get lower ratings or that only a certain number are eligible to receive the highest ratings, performance evaluations become a game. Because so much is often riding on the final "grade," employees become highly competitive and individually focused, losing sight of the customer and the importance of teamwork. Forced distribution also assumes that there are groups of employees who are not achieving. It does not consider that few employees should be in the lower part of the scale if the organization's selection processes are strong or if managers are coaching employees to improve performance. Forced distribution is an aggressive approach, widely used in competitive work environments, but not without costs.

Rating employee performance is a part of the role you assume when you supervise. They should be based on an application of specific examples of performance to a scale that has been defined and applied to the job. The myths defined here only create a barrier to meaningful and useful discussions with employees about variations in their performance.

Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Management Education Group, Inc. and is a leading expert in the management of public sector employees.  Contact Green at phone: 480-705-9394 email: mgreen@managementeducationgroup.com



View all articles by Marnie Green

Link to this article:

Code to copy: <a href="http://www.dime-co.com/leadership/Myths-of-the-Rating-Scale.shtml">Myths of the Rating Scale</a>




Related Articles...

Myths of the Rating Scale

Jun 1, 2011 - 6:55:03 PM

There are some wacky ideas out there when it comes to rating employee performance.  If your organization's performance evaluation system uses a rating scale, you have inevitably heard some crazy ideas about performance evaluations. The following "myths" prevent us from using the performance evaluation ratings to improve employee performance. Instead, they detract from focusing on tools and conversations for improving performance.  Have you heard any of these?... [Read the full story]

Four Lame Performance Management Excuses

Oct 7, 2010 - 10:29:37 AM

You are a busy person. As a manager in a public agency you have budgets to balance, services to provide, and constituents to satisfy. There is always a meeting to attend or a deadline to meet. And while the day-to-day business of providing public services is always calling, there are also employees who are looking to you for direction, guidance, feedback, and recognition. And for some managers, employee performance is low on the list of priorities.... [Read the full story]

The Smartphone and The Accountant: It's No Toy!

Sep 13, 2010 - 4:10:58 PM

You may already have an excellent CPA website. If so, you're already on the right track. It will be a very long time before we unearth a better instrument in the constant struggle for improving efficiency than your website.... [Read the full story]

Any Emotion is Normal

Apr 9, 2010 - 12:15:19 PM

... [Read the full story]


Newest Articles in Popular Topics:

Business & Marketing Computers & the Internet Entertainment Health & Fitness
Finding Ways To Save Money And Maximize Revenue In Business
Cooper's Golf Park Tees Off Their New Website
Fiinovation Adjudged CSR Team of the Year & Caring Company at World CSR Day
Reasons Why Kale Realty is the Best Real Estate Firm in All of Chicago
Montreal Tech Startup Kangaroo Rewards Launches Mobile Loyalty Program for Local Merchants
It is time we break out of the SEO Shelter
3 Strong Reasons You Should Start Your Own Blog
Evolve Your Career With CompTIA A+ Certification Exam
High speed VMware Backups - Powered by UltraBlaze() from Vembu
Things to Consider When Selecting a Domain Name for Your Website
Fling Boom "Launches" This Holiday Season
Beautiful Abstract Canvas Art is Up for Grabs
Buying Art as a Gift: Tips From an Expert
Complete Guide to the 2014 Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival Released by Jackson Mountain Homes
Learn Blues Music Online-Alternative to Traditional Piano Lessons
Avoid This Weight Loss Killer
Recognizing the Causes and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Women
Four Reasons to Consider Permanent Tattoo Removal
Three Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy and Why They Are Needed
Causes and Treatment of Acne

Home & Family

Shopping

Sports

Travel
Enhance Your Learning Experience Through Best Responsive Elearning Development Tools
Best Apps for Learning German
Esvees is Cranbourne's Elite Hair Dressing Company
Ozone Generator
Practical Tips When Choosing Gates and Gate Openers for Your Home or Business
Why Cases are Required for Mobile Phones?
Are Dealership Services Worth It?
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Named Must-Shop SUV for Towing from AutoTrader.com
Online Selling With An Appraisal Advantage
Macsome AudioBook Converter released New Version V2.0.4
Aditi Ashok signs off with a double
Softball Coaching: Avoid Becoming A Nattering Nabob of Negativity
Softball Coaching Tips - The Funnel Approach
Pick Up Specialized Advice on Jumping Exercises Which Are Highly Effective
Vertical Jump Training Tactics to Increase Your Athletic Performance
Tips for Choosing the Right Paris Short Lets
Hostels - the best choice for working womens and college students
Perfect holiday? Book a cruise and sail in Croatia!
Say Aloha to Your Best Vacation Ever with Kohala Coast Properties
The Perfect Guide for a Fantastic Family Trip to Kansas City

 



Follow & Share Your Favorite Video Articles

Tell a Friend About This Site



Chamber of Commerce - on the Web logo



Subscribe to the eMarket SmartsTM Newsletter in order to keep up to date with what's happening with dime-co.com, get the emails on new video articles, featured articles, and more. Your privacy is always protected. We never rent, sell or trade your private information

:
:

Service provided by GetResponse Autoresponders


Recommended Associates


Latest Articles in All Categories


Putting Up a Small Commercial Printing Business
So You Might Be Unemployed And Desire To Become A San Francisco Real Estate Investor Now
Meditation and Mindfulness: Dealing With Emotion
CPA Websites: Five Essential Ideas for Composing Convincing Articles
Set Goals In Order to Come Up With Your Action Plan
Is the Air in Your Home Safe to Breathe?
Coarse Fishing Tackle Review: The JW Young 13ft Trotter Rod
Section 1031 Exchanges For San Diego Real Estate Investors
Phoenix Real Estate Investing For Highest Possible Earnings
Legendary are the Volk Racing TE37 Wheels
Developing the Next Generation Wall Station (ChaseDesk™) for Healthcare - A Case Study
What are step down transformers?
Introducing Sharehype, the Revolutionary Tool for Online Marketers
Rewards To Shopping For Austin Real Estate On The Web
Hydroponics for Beginners



Do you write?

Would you like submit your articles and have them approved on a priority status? Find out more about how you can become a Priority author for pennies a day! Click here.

Dime-co.com Home
  • Business (9328)
  • Computers & The Internet (5740)
  • Entertainment (1348)
  • Family (958)
  • Finance (1963)
  • Health (4246)
  • Home and Living (6670)
  • Marketing (6113)
  • Shopping & Product Reviews (2624)
  • Sports (694)
  • Travel and Vacations (1689)
  • Video Articles (1)
  • Editors Pick (1)