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    The Components of a Good Performance Evaluation

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    A performance evaluation is often used as a task to gauge three criteria. Those criteria are: individual task outcomes, behaviors, and traits. Task outcomes are the primary criteria that should be measured as these often directly impact the production and profitability of a company. These could be sales numbers, projects initiated, hazards or flaws detected, improving current processes, etc. The second criteria, behaviors, tend to impact the overall work environment and the groups that an individual works in. Behaviors can directly and indirectly impact the company.

    Examples of behaviors are timeliness, sick days used, involvement in meetings and teams, helping others, working overtime, etc. Traits are the third criteria in performance evaluations. Examples of traits that could be measured are: attitude, confidence, neat and organized, etc. These items are the typically the least impactful of job performance. In the example given there are many concerns with how the current evaluation is set up. The three criteria that are measured (atleast those that have been made known) are friendliness, neatness of workspace and attitude. These would primarily be a measure of traits, which are the weakest of the three criteria mentioned.

    This is because they are often the furthest from actual job performance. For example an individual may be the highest selling salesperson in the company, but has the messiest desk in the office. That would show there is no correlation between the trait and the productivity of that salesperson. The evaluation of the engineer in the scenario is flawed due to the fact that it focuses completely on traits and not behaviors or task outcomes. It needs to focus primarily on outcomes, with behaviors being secondary and traits comprising the smallest portion of the evaluation. The example mentions very positive marks in both outcomes and behaviors.

    The engineer is described as a hard worker and detail-oriented person. It also lists a couple of task outcomes that have had a significant positive impact on the company. The engineer had suggested changes to the plant that led to significant savings on manufacturing costs and also eliminated a safety hazard that had previously been overlooked. Another issue that is present in the evaluation is the personal history between the engineer and the manager. There is some negative history between the engineer and his manager surrounding last year’s performance evaluation. If this is an item that hasn’t been addressed or if the relationship hasn’t been mended than a 360-degree evaluation with multiple evaluators would be a much better situation, as the manager is likely biased due to his personal feelings and may not clearly see the achievements the engineer has accomplished.

    The manager needs to take into account the history the engineer has with his co- workers and realize the effect it has on his “friendliness” and “attitude” evaluations. Due to the clashing personalities and the practical jokes that have been played on the engineer, these two traits may be unfairly evaluated. A proactive approach should be taken to resolve those past issues, and an emphasis should be placed on more tangible items relating to the engineers job performance. The behaviors and traits should be measured to the extent they effect the overall production of the engineer and the company. The traits measured in a performance evaluations should be the same across the company.

    If the manager is going to measure traits of the engineer, he should do the same for all the other co-workers. There shouldn’t be individualized evaluations. This helps compare and contrast employees. Often companies will even rank employees based on their evaluations. It would be worth further consideration for the manager to implement the 360-degree performance evaluations. This type of evaluation would include supervisors, the employee being evaluated, peers and subordinates in the evaluation. A 360-degree evaluation has many advantages and disadvantages. A problem with a single-evaluator method, is that it will not take into account every angle and facet of the job. The evaluator (often a supervisor) can only measure the employee based on his relationship with him/her. However, if multiple people are involved in the evaluation you receive a much more holistic picture of that individual’s job performance.

    For example, a direct report would likely be able to shine more light on the engineer’s delegating skills than his manager would. In addition to this advantage, a 360-degree evaluation also provides the employee with good opportunities for development by comparing their self-evaluation with the others they receive. While the 360-degree evaluation does offer many advantages, there are some drawbacks as well. The immense amount of feedback created by multiple evaluators is beneficial, but can be inaccurate if not compiled and analyzed well. This means that a consistent interpretation can be difficult to obtain. Another pitfall of the 360-degree approach is there is a higher likelihood for dishonest feedback. Often times an employee does not want to share negative comments regarding a supervisor in fear of retaliation. This can even hold true for employees that work together and often spend a majority of their day working side by side.

    There are numerous valuation methods that could be used after the performance data is analyzed. Graphic rating scales, essay format, individual ratings, and group ratings can all be used to help communicate the data to the employee. Often times a combination of these methods are used. Graphic rating scales are a quick and easy method to implement. It requires the manager to lay out the factors measured (ex. quality of work, efficiency, depth of knowledge, group dynamics, etc.) and attach a scale to each. These are often a 1 to 5, or 1 to 10 scale with the lower numbers illustrating poor performance and the higher numbers illustrating outstanding performance.

    The evaluation feedback is then communicated by the employee seeing where he or she lands on the scale. Again, this is an easy and fast way to provide quantitative analysis that can be easily compared to other employees. However, this method does not provide the detail Individual and group ratings are another method often used to distribute performance evaluation information. These rating systems are considered forced comparisons, since they force the evaluator to place the employee in a relative position against others. Individual ratings rank employees from best to worst. For example 1st through 50th. While they may be closely grouped, no ties are allowed.

    Group ratings take a different approach; they inform employees that they are in the top 25% for example or the bottom 25%. This allows for a more general placement. The advantages of forced comparisons are it can lead to more competition amongst employees and also allow the management to compare employees when it comes time for raises or budget cuts. The downside to this approach is that it can be very difficult to accurately rank people, and those in the lower ranks may feel hurt or offended instead of inspired to improve. Essay format is the most common and often simplest method of distributing performance evaluations.

    The essay is simple narrative that highlights the employee’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement, past performance, and any other information the manager feels necessary. The advantages of this method are that they require little training for the manager and a great level of detail can be shared. The disadvantages are that the evaluation may be limited to the writing skills of the manager and future comparisons among employees may be difficult since there is not a standard scoring scale. One challenge of any performance evaluation is bias. There are many types of biases that can frequently impact the accuracy of performance evaluations.

    The ‘halo error’ is a type of bias that is present when an evaluator focuses primarily on one characteristic and that unjustly influences the assessment of other characteristics. For instance an employee that has a great attitude, but poorly performs his job still obtains high marks in all categories since the evaluator is focused on the great attitude. Another type of bias is positive or negative leniency. This occurs when evaluators unconsciously inflate evaluations (positive) or understate performance (negative). For instance a teacher may give all of his students’ high grades; this may even help him be seen as a better teacher.

    The teacher inflating the grades would be an example of positive leniency bias. The final type of bias to examine is similarity error. Similarity error occurs when an evaluator favors people who act, have personalities, lifestyles or characteristics much like their own. These traits could be positive or negative; the importance is that the employee and evaluator are similar.

    An example of this would be a manager and employee who are both outgoing, Catholic, enjoy basketball and live in the same sub-division. If the manager was exhibiting bias based on similarity, rather than job performance, this would be an example of similarity error. Due to so many different types of biases out there an accurate performance evaluation by a single manager could be difficult to obtain. There are many components of a good performance evaluation. Based on the example given between the manager and the engineer, there is significant room for improvement. One way to improve the evaluation process would be to have multiple evaluators.

    If 6 people evaluated the engineer’s performance and one person’s was negative while the other fives’ were positive, they could discredit the one negative. This helps ensure that the evaluations are taking a complete view of the job role and are more valid. Another key component to improve the engineer’s evaluation process would be to focus on job outcomes and reduce the time spent on traits. It would also be beneficial to explain to the engineer prior to what is going to be evaluated and give him an opportunity to address any issues, history, or bias that may be present in the evaluation.

    An additional recommendation would be to utilize a performance evaluation distribution method that combines at least two of the methods previously discussed. Perhaps this would be an essay combined with a graphic rating scale. This will help ensureclear communication on the results of the evaluation. Finally, ensuring that there is sufficient training for all those involved in the performance evaluation process is critical to an effective evaluation. This well help each of the evaluators know what is being measured, how to communicate their findings and also will help prepare the engineer for the feedback given.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Components of a Good Performance Evaluation. (2022, Dec 01). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-components-of-a-good-performance-evaluation/

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