In the area of Human Management, tools are constantly being developed and improved to rate the performance of employees and give them feedback. But what would happen if we told you that this constructive criticism is hardly objective?
Marcus Buckingham, author of the article published in the Harvard Business Review: “Why Feedback Rarely Does What It Really Should Do” gives us a completely different perspective than what we have known throughout the time of the feedback exercise in companies .
Marcus says that rating people is completely subjective, as well as being an activity that can become a reflection of the strengths or weaknesses of the person rating. Also, he says that it could have negative consequences for employees, such as the anxiety of waiting all the time for someone to tell them what they should do to be better.
This new perspective casts doubt on all rating methods in companies, since the person giving this feedback may be biased by their social context, their favoritism, their education, their weaknesses, among other things. In addition, qualified people cannot all be measured the same, since each one has their strengths, weaknesses and way of doing things.
This criticism is associated with the psychological term “idiosyncratic qualifying effect”. This means that the rating is based on the rater's judgments.
There are several types of biases:
- Central Tendency Bias: This happens when the rater is unable to give a bad grade, so he chooses to always give a medium score. This has negative consequences, since those employees who perform poorly will not have access to this information and will not know what they need to improve on.
- Recent and past bias: This first happens when only the most recent performance is referenced without taking into account the employee's journey in the year. The second refers to when the rater stays in a past performance and does not take into account whether there have been improvements or errors.
- Negativity bias: This happens when the rater is left with a negative aspect of the employee and is based on it to rate him. It can result in fear or anger on the part of the employee.
- Halo effect, confirmation bias and similarity: This happens when the rating is based on the person's perception, thus affecting the objectivity of the rating.
What could be the solution?
Buckingham proposes three solutions to have high performance results:
- Focus on each of the collaborators in their individuality. Collaborators do not want to feel ignored, so it is important to pay attention to what they do and how they do it.
- Pay close attention to the people who are doing their job well, in order to reinforce the details that allow the objectives to be met and how they can be applied to other collaborators.
- Recognize what each of the collaborators loves to do. This will allow them to find strength in getting better at what they love to do and teaching others about it.
This is why Buckingham states "if you want maximum performance, first you have to see what the person has”. We must first get to know our collaborators to know what those capacities are and strengthen them, and also what those weaknesses are that need to be worked on. Create a work plan together and lead them to self-reflection so that they are constantly evaluating themselves and can find opportunities for improvement.
On the other hand, on many occasions goals are set that not even the leaders are capable of meeting. Therefore, it is important to take into account what those minimum standards are that leaders achieve so that they have a guide of what is required from collaborators.
Thus, this feedback, rather than a rating, should be a conversation about the thoughts, feelings and experiences of both sides. Well, several people cannot be qualified under the same standards, because they have a different education, in addition to socio-cultural contexts that shape each one in a different way.
Finally, Buckingham leaves us with this reflection “Excellence is a result. That is why we say that when something works, you have to identify how that result was achieved and draw people's attention to the successful process behind it”.
It is time to ask ourselves how we are doing performance ratings and if this feedback is being as objective as possible.