Performance Reviews are around the corner. Are you ready?
January 13, 2023
Keeping a tab on the #performance of teams is an integral part of a manager’s job. Nevertheless, many things create problems in this. One such trouble is bias. While biases exist all around us, we often fail to recognize them. As a result, we act on intuition instead of rationality. It is a dangerous prospect for any manager as it keeps them from being productive at work. Meanwhile, the quality of their team suffers too.
Let’s take the example of a Sales manager, Andrew, who has 150 people working with them. While Andrew ensures their judgment is fair across all metrics in varying situations, they hear in external feedback sessions that some employees are unhappy. What could be the reason? Let’s find out with them!
In order to understand this issue, Andrew went back to their last performance review and tried to look for trends. They noticed that they had given average scores to many of their team members. Upon further thought along this line, Andrew could gather that they were providing such scores to the team members unfamiliar with them and, thus, unable to rate their work effectively. Many employees who were not reaching their goals were getting average scores too. It was a problem, so Andrew began reading about central tendency bias.
Further, as Andrew continued to analyze trends, they noticed that people whose work was unfamiliar to them were getting higher scores in general too. Specifically, people working on new sales methodology had consistently high averages. It was an area where Andrew did not have extensive expertise. Resultantly, Andrew could not accurately measure the causal success of their efforts and results and ended up giving a higher score.
On the other hand, team members focusing on their manager’s area of expertise were receiving lower ratings. It clearly points out that the manager used themselves as a point of reference for evaluating their teammates. In managerial parlance, this is the idiosyncratic rater bias.
Another trend hinted that there was a vast difference in the performance of their on-site and remote workers. While in-office workers received good evaluations, workers predominantly adopting the remote mode failed to make a mark. However, this put our manager Andrew in a confusing situation, as they were sure of the ability of their remote team too. Not only do they perform well, they often cross targets. So, what could be happening here?
Andrew realized they were acknowledging the workers’ efforts they could actually see working. On the other hand, remote workers had to make efforts to get noticed. The proximity bias was clouding the view of the manager. Do you feel that the same happens with your team? Read more to check if the proximity bias limits your hybrid team’s success.
Another fascinating discovery in this study was that an employee often raised the bar for everyone. Their success meant that others had to reach bigger goals. As a result, the charts often showed an over-achiever and several employees clustered around them. It was happening due to the contrast bias.
Without knowing so, the performance of the first employee was generally treated as the yardstick to measure the performance of other workers. And accidentally, the first worker happened to be the team’s star performer. The other employees did not receive an accurate performance evaluation because they were tested in comparison, not on merit. The bias made the manager contrast the workers and their performance instead of permitting an objective assessment.
This study of performance reviews revealed a lot to Andrew, who then decided to study more about these biases and looked for solutions to overcome them. Not only were the biases limiting their potential, but they were also affecting their team’s success. In the absence of adequate feedback, they could not understand where and how to improve their performance. Therefore, every manager needs to understand and overcome biases, not limit their teams.
While some habits might remain, #managers can ensure that they are primarily objective in their assessments. The key is to remember that you are evaluating the one employee who works with their goals and environment independently of others. With the help of technology, you can make your job easier too. You can use assessments designed for yourself and your team on platforms like Risely. They help you overcome human limitations like subjectivity and hesitation. Sign up today without the wait!