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Performance evaluation

Delivering objective and effective performance evaluations reducing the negative impact of the automatic workings of the mind

Assessing objectively the performance of your employees goes beyond just being fair: it means good business. Higher motivation, better morale and improved working environment, just to name a few impacts of good talent management, translate into more efficiency, improved ethics and fewer errors. The bottom line is simple: more profits and less risk.

The issue is that unconscious bias and automatic associations often affect significantly corporate performance evaluations. For instance, the definition of evaluation criteria can be ambiguous. If everyone agrees that a manager has to be a good leader, do a Chinese or an American executive have the same vision of leadership? Our experience with our multi-national clients shows that values, skills and behaviors expected at a given position can vary significantly from one corporation to another and within the same company, from a country to another or even from a department to another in the same country.

Client case

A global industrial company had most of its growth potential in emerging countries. However, its total number of general managers was too limited to allow the opening of all the subsidiaries considered, and most of the current senior executives had limited appetite for the new bottom-of-the-pyramid local market segments.

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Consequences?

For the similar competences and business results

 American or Chinese, French or Germans, alumnis from a top or unknown university, women or men, Black or White people will most probably not receive similar ratings.

 People assigned during the semester to challenging or low priority assignments will also not receive similar ratings.

 Similarly, if your evaluation form is overloaded with information or synthetic and clear, you might very well rate your subordinate more or less fairly.

We are not necessarily conscious of these insidious features of the automatic workings of the mind. We only have the strong intuition that an individual has over-performed and deserves to be promoted but we have no way to know why. Sometimes, intuition is an effective problem-solving shortcut but it can also lead us to make unfair decisions, especially in evaluating the performance of someone over a semester or a year.

Why does this matter?

It does because employees with a performance and high potential could be under-evaluated, remain longer in subordinate positions and subsequently leave the company.

What can be done?

Such mental processes are difficult to identify as mainly unconscious. Even when it is possible, telling people that they might have biases and need to be more objective is not sufficient to get results. It might even quite often lead them to be less open to differences. Diverseo’s approach aims at reducing unconscious subjectivity at the individual and corporate levels in the long run. Over the last seven years, in partnership with eminent researchers, Diverseo has integrated the latest brain research with strategy consulting techniques to develop a set of proprietary tools, the HR Process scan™,  to improve the objectivity of performance evaluation.

Best practices in performance appraisal

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