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Different Types of Rating Systems for Performance Appraisals

written by: Vikas Vij•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 11/21/2010

Check out the various performance appraisal ratings systems to see which one suits your organizational needs in the best way. It is a great tool for the development of human capital within your organization.

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    Different Types of Rating Systems for Performance Appraisals

    Performance Rating System There are a number of performance appraisal ratings systems used by different organizations to measure the performance of their employees. Such ratings are meant to assist the employees in identifying their weaknesses and preparing them for better performance in the future. They also serve as motivation tools to acknowledge and reward employees who are performing exceptionally well. Accuracy and reliability of various appraisal systems is often questionable and a constant matter of debate among management experts.

    Trait-based Scalar Rating Systems

    This is a common way to determine performance appraisal ratings of different employees within the organization. The managers of different departments will rate the employees against several traits or attributes such as hard work, business acumen, honesty and commitment. These are essentially personality traits as well as acquired traits, such as technical skills or experienced handling of situations. However, the downside of this rating system is that it is quite subjective, vague and prone to human error and biases.

    Comparison Ranking Systems

    Under this rating system, an employee is not evaluated against some defined standard or measure of excellence, but against the performance of other employees who perform a similar job. All the employees are thus ranked from the best to the worst performer in order to evaluate the relative performance of the employees in comparison to the group average. Paired comparisons, simple rankings and forced distribution rankings are some of the techniques used under this system to evaluate performance. However, the limitation of this system is that it becomes difficult to compare the performance of employees performing different types of jobs or working in different departments.

    Graphic Rating Scale (GRS)

    This type of performance rating system evaluates the employees against specific attributes of effective performance such as flexibility, decision making ability and loyalty to the organization. Each of the attributes is then rated on a multi-point rating scale. The rating on this scale gives an indication of the level of a particular employee on that particular attribute or dimension. This rating system attempts to make performance appraisals more objective and quantified. However, the inherent weaknesses of subjectivity still remain the same even under this system.

    Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)

    BARS is an improvised form of the GRS performance evaluation system. The difference is here is instead the multi-point scales in this case do not use numbers or descriptions such as “good, outstanding or average." In this case the dimensions are represented by specific job behaviors that are supposed to influence the work performance of an employee. This system involves a detailed job analysis in order to come up with more accurate parameters to rate the performance of employees.

    Behavior Observation Scales (BOS)

    This measure of employee performance looks at evaluating the behavior that is suited for a particular job. The employee’s behavior is monitored over a period of time to assess a behavioral pattern. To devise a BOS performance appraisal rating scale, an expert will first generate critical incidents for specific jobs and then turn these incidents into dimensions. In BOS, every single behavior is rated separately by the manager.

    Photo Credit: virsh