and Rating Systems
One of the essential components to appraising an organization’s
workforce is through the use of rating and ranking
systems. No one will dispute that the use of charts
and grids to determine business solutions in the human
resources realm is one of the best ways to get direct
results onto a page. Indeed, it is said to be a fundamental
starting point when making big decisions about promotions
and layoffs. As with any grid system there is always
an element of imperfection, even after all the numbers
are been crunched. That said, however, it is hard to
dispute that this simple, quantitative approach to
employee performance appraisal is impossible to ignore.
It requires a good deal of careful bookkeeping, but
often can yield very useful and informative results
within the context of an employee evaluation.
A rating system is quite possibly one of the most-used
systems methods of performance assessment. This is
due, in a large part, to the simplicity of the system.
The general scheme of the rating system can be drawn
out on a card that lists desired objectives, skills
or traits alongside a 1-5, ‘poor to excellent’ type
of scale. In fact, a small easy-to-read card is usually
what is used. Everything from an employee’s ability
to meet deadlines to the employee’s level of
smarts on the job can be determined through the judgment
of the rater. The person in charge of rating employees
is different from business to business. Some supervisors
are solely responsible for rating, while others let
employees rate themselves. Still others combine both
the supervisor’s and the employees’ own
rating. The objective in any case is to reach a uniform
and objective result, submitted on scheduled basis.
The wide scope of application and standardization
is what really turns on business managers. On top of
this, the rating system is a markedly low stress endeavor.
Indeed, that is why it is so widely utilized. It takes
a supervisor just minutes to complete a rating assignment,
and neither the supervisor nor the employees will require
any drawn out explanation on how to use the system.
It should be remembered, however, that rating is not
a fix all solution. Its benefits are limited unless
combined with other essential elements of performance
Ranking systems take a markedly different approach,
by comparing employees against one another. In the
classroom, this is similar to grading on the curve.
Instead of applying a set standard to all employees,
the best performer can determine where everyone else
fits in. This, in turn, creates a level of healthy
competition as employees strive to outperform each
other and reach the top of the heap. Of course, such
a system of ranking must be coupled with a clear incentive
program in order to be fully effective. It should be
noted, however, that competition in and of itself is
a highly effective tool in catalyzing productivity.
In addition to presenting clear rewards, effective
ranking thrives on the creation of concrete steps each
employee can take to achieve success. Great importance
should be placed upon the objective criteria for advancement
(i.e. level of actual productivity) rather than on
personality traits. This gives every employee a sense
that he or she can succeed.