“To err is human” is a famous saying that many of us have come across at one point in our lives.
While this is a comforting saying because it tells us that it’s okay to make mistakes once in a while, we should also constantly be trying to better ourselves and our work.
This is especially true for managers and those who are responsible for others. It is in these positions that personal biases can unfairly come into play even when they shouldn’t. These can be particularly detrimental during periods of performance reviews.
Luckily these biases have been studied and there are now digital solutions such as Grapevine Evaluations to create fair and accurate reports.
1. Horns and Halos
One of the most common, and natural, biases that managers will experience has been termed the “horns and halo effect.”
Essentially referring to a tendency to exaggerate an employee or job interviewee’s good or negative traits based solely on superficial first impressions.
This is of course a natural process that everyone experiences, but when it comes to the work realm, it is important to move past these biases:
If the first impression is negative, there is a tendency to overlook positive traits of the individual and only focus on the negative.
The individual often has to work very hard to have their positive characteristics recognized in this situation because every following interaction is seen through the filter of the negative first impression.
This is also a common bias that most people have been on either side of; when we like someone, we are more likely to overlook their shortcomings and focus on the positive characteristics.
This person is seen with the “halo” of the positive first impression. This is just as problematic as the horns though, because they will potentially get away with completing less work or lower of work. It is important to see the negative with the positive in these cases.
The best way to get rid of this bias is to let go of first impressions and to be honest about the regularity and severity of issues which arise with different employees.
For instance, an employee might be late on 3 different occasions, but this needs more consideration before “sticking the horns” on them.
For instance, listen to their reasons before getting angry, they might have genuine reasons involving traffic or childcare, rather than simply poor time management.
Also take note of whether they stay later to work; often managers get angry with lateness (rightfully so), but do not notice when employees make up the time at the end of the day.
It also makes a huge difference if these days were all over the course of a week or if it was during 6 months of otherwise perfect punctuality.
All of these factors can create a very different story, so be clear with expectations and set standards to judge performance on:
- Set assessment criteria prior to reviews. These should align with the company’s objectives.
- Review individuals throughout the year and not just during formal assessment periods.
- Manage and discuss issues as they arise. This allows employees to improve with constructive criticism.
- Never let personal relationships with employees interfere with assessments.
- Never adjust assessment criteria for one employee. Judge all by the same yardsticks.
3. Use Reliable Software
Grapevine Evaluations is an online software which makes it easy to perform a complete, “360 degree” evaluation on all employees. It holds everyone to the same standards and evaluates them accurately.
First impressions will no longer run the risk of dictating an employee’s future within the company. Instead it focuses simply on productivity, punctuality, and other characteristics which are key for the workplace.
It works for business on all levels and sizes. It can even be used for multi-rater feedback to assess management or anything else that is necessary. There is a template library to choose from for convenience but custom evaluations can also be created to suit any company for their unique needs.
Employee evaluation softwares remove the risk of human error to create objective and unbiased employee assessments. It is perhaps one of the fairest methods to perform these evaluations.
The halo and horns effect is completely eliminated with Grapevine Evaluations while also reducing the time that competing this process would otherwise require.