What Is Performance Appraisal?

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Performance Appraisal

Understanding that performance Appraisal is the end of the performance management cycle, we can say that it aims to measure the Performance Appraisal of an employee over a certain period of time. Therefore, much of the organizational psychology literature is focused on how to design performance appraisal questionnaires that increase process satisfaction, improve the perception of process fairness, and increase process accuracy .

However, it is necessary to clarify that the analysis needs to be based on the pre-established agreements with the professionals regarding their Performance Appraisal at the beginning of the period considered for evaluation.In order to align expectations, the responsibilities of the function, the goals of each sector, as well as the potential of each employee and the business culture of the business are considered.

As Performance Appraisal must be oriented towards the future, it is divided by most specialists into two main dimensions: results ( outcomes ) and behaviors ( behaviours ).

What Is The Difference Between Results And Behaviors?

For you to easily understand the difference between the terms, think that the results part are “what” the employee does and the behaviors the “how” he produces the results. Therefore, these two dimensions of Performance Appraisal form a backbone of the performance management cycle .

Thus, in order to carry out the Performance Appraisal, it is necessary to develop a series of questionnaires containing questions by one or several Performance Appraisal about an evaluated person that deal with aspects related to the two dimensions.


Behaviors are evaluated by the so-called “competence assessment”, and both the use of understanding and behavior in performance management gained strength in the 70’s and 80’s.At that time, there was still a strong focus on using goals and objectives as a single measure of performance.

However, organizational psychologists along with the HR department felt a lack of a behavioral component to measure how people achieved the given results.This is how the use of skills and behaviors was born . After all, these concepts were already used in the analysis of positions and occupations where the purpose was performance management.

In modern performance appraisals , therefore, there is a component that deals with competences and another with results, and behaviors are normally evaluated one by one, and can be grouped based on common themes.

There are even companies that make the composition between behaviors derived from the values, the critical competences and the functional competences of the Performance Appraisal position.


If evaluating skills is no longer an easy task, evaluating the results is even more complex.Thus, if the company is in a still basic stage of maturity of its Performance Appraisal process, the evaluator can only evaluate the responsibilities and activities delimited.

As an example , let’s imagine a financial analyst. It could be evaluated by producing the error-free cash position reports in a timely manner that it produces.In this case, there would supposedly be 5 options that would evaluate his performance against what is expected of his position, with each of these options saying whether he is doing well or not.

In places where employee responsibilities are measured by  Performance Appraisal indicators , they end up serving as a proxy for employee performance and are used in this portion of the Performance Appraisal.

How Are Performance Appraisal Scales Made?

When we talk about Performance Appraisal, we need to understand that it is necessary to create an Performance Appraisal scale , especially with regard to the issue of behavior.Generally, this scale has three major variables that need to be defined, which are the scale to be used, the label of each of the scale options and the use of behavioral rulers anchored in behaviors.

First, it is necessary to define whether there will be an even or odd number of options in the scale . Bearing in mind that scales with even numbers leave no room for the “middle ground”, which makes many companies not opt ​​for them.

Another point is the scale size . For larger scales such as 5 options make the Performance Appraisal more accurate as each evaluator can be more judicious in differentiating their assessments.

Also, it is necessary to define the label of the chosen options. They can, therefore, be numerical, going for example from 1 to 5, or be replaced by a scale of concepts such as: “far below expectations”, “below expectations”, “above expectations” and so on.

If the company wants, it can keep numbers and concepts side by side, and there are two major types of scales that can be chosen, relative and absolute .

Black businesswoman addressing colleagues at a board meeting

Relative Scales

Relative scales , as the name suggests, ask the person to be judged relatively in relation to something or to their peers.For example, when the scale is relative to something, it might be what is expected of the job. In relation to the pairs, the comparison will be made in relation to the group.

However, this second option is considered inefficient by some experts, since employees Performance Appraisal can occupy different functions that are difficult to compare .

Absolute Scales

In the case of absolute scales, the evaluator will evaluate the evaluated in an absolute way , without any relation to what is expected or with other evaluated.In this type of assessment, it is quite common to create a “bad”, “average” and “good” scale.

There are companies that have more sophistication that use the so-called Behavior-Anchored Rating Scale .These scales are descriptions of the observable behaviors in each of the rating scale grades/concepts.

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