Rater Bias

In any team, it is inevitable that some relationships will be smoother than others. There may also be relationships that step over the professional boundary, where a manager socialises with staff or even enters into personal relationships with them. On the other hand, there are many ways in which staff can manipulate their manager where they feel there is an advantage to be gained. Therefore it is difficult for a manager to remain neutral and to exclude any personal opinion from a subjective rating system. There are six forms of rater bias, as follows.

The Halo Effect
The rater judges a person’s entire performance based on a very small number of significant achievements. The rater overlooks other problems which need attention. This would be like a film critic recommending a film when they had only seen the trailer, and it’s often a symptom of a detached manager who only notices significant achievements or failures.

Contrast errors
The rater compares a person to their peers rather than to an objective set of standards. When the rater favours one person in particular, the contrast effect is magnified.

Recency bias
The rater bases the assessment on recent events rather than taking into account the entire assessment period. Therefore, hold quarterly or even monthly reviews to make sure you know exactly what’s going on. Another related problem is that, rather than deal with minor issues throughout the year, some managers save them all up for the annual appraisal. Read Ken Blanchard’s ‘The One Minute Manager’ and pay particular attention to the chapter, ‘The One Minute Reprimand’. In short, deal with any minor problems as they arise, deal with them quickly and then move on. Save the annual appraisal for overall job performance and long term development. © Peter Freeth 2008 – 2013 www.askrevelation.com www.genius-at-work.co.uk 1

co. Have a peer there. and make sure they understand how to give the type of feedback that you want. Use SMART to write objectives and check to make sure you both understand exactly what the criteria are. and gather feedback from internal and external customers. © Peter Freeth 2008 – 2013 www. Some managers. don’t do the appraisals alone. No. Severity Bias The rater is too harsh because of high expectations or some other subjective factor. give low ratings.genius-at-work. Self-Serving Bias The rater believes that they are responsible for the success of the team. Firstly. They blame the team for poor performance. The rater can also be affected by their personal feelings towards the members of their team. Feedback obtained from multiple sources is called ‘360º’ feedback. make sure you set and measure against objectives where there is as little room for interpretation as possible. Check back on progress regularly and formally – don’t wait for the person to fail.com www.Leniency Bias The rater avoids the discomfort of giving a poor rating by being too lenient. or someone from HR. There are two important ways to prevent rater bias. Be sure to let the customers know in advance that you will be asking for feedback. particularly in the transition from fixed pay scales to performance related pay. so they under-rate good performance. A higher rating would mean you were better at your job.uk 2 .askrevelation. not that you should be doing your manager’s. Severity bias can also occur where a rater is being lenient towards one member of a team and rates the others severely to hide their bias. help them to succeed. “If I gave you a higher rating you’d have to be doing my job!”. Secondly. using the excuse.

The modelling process can be used in talent management.com www. recruitment. achieved by identifying and 'blueprinting' the talents of high performers within the business 83% success rate for career promotions for 25 'future leaders' through a succession planning program at Babcock • We have worked with clients in every market sector and at every level. they realise that that should have been one of the criteria then that’s fine.co.uk 3 . Genius at Work. a toolkit for replicating talent within any environment. If they didn’t say beforehand that that was one of the performance criteria. and the hallmark of all of our projects is our depth of insight and understanding of our client's business and its people. For example. About Revelation Revelation Consulting Ltd has worked with corporate and SME clients since 2000 to deliver the highest levels of business performance through people development. If. business process design. as a result of seeing the finished product. especially when there’s money involved.Performance measurement  Can you see what the golden rule is for any measurement tool?  And can you see the very simple way to make any performance measurement tool objective? Tell the person being measured what they are being measured on.genius-at-work. arising from project mismanagement and poor management controls Doubled sales conversion rates for Domestic & General through trainer training Doubled sales conversion rates for Fitness Industry Education through sales coaching 25% time and cost saving on Somerfield's graduate training program. You can always expect performance measurements to evolve. © Peter Freeth 2008 – 2013 www. Our experience includes: • • • • • A 700% increase in profitability as a result of us working with the leadership team of Parker Hannifin £16 Million in lost revenue identified and recovered for Babcock. what the criteria are and what to do if they fall short of the required standards. because people tend to find ways of doing things that you hadn’t expected. staff development. it’s not valid feedback. organisational design and coaching. let’s say you prepare a presentation and your manager says that they don’t like it.askrevelation. Our unique approach is detailed within our book.

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