No business can be successful in hiring and developing talented employees without having access to good human resources data. Without being able to properly assess your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, your business lacks crucial details on how it is running, where it is going and how to improve it.
Every business, large or small, should be assessing its employees on important personality and work performance characteristics. Unfortunately, most of the data collected this way is flawed due to the way human resources officers measure them.
This is due to the Idiosyncratic Rater Effect. Every person bases their assessments of others on themselves and their own perceptions of different traits. The means that different raters are likely to give the same employee different ratings because of their own personal characteristics. Because of this built-in bias, the usefulness of the HR data collected through such surveys is very limited.
After all, high marks from a consistently high-marking reviewer are no more indicative of aptitude than low marks from a very critical are indicative of a deficiency. So what can a business do to counteract the Idiosyncratic Rater Effect? There are a number of methods that can help businesses get accurate human resource data that we will look into in detail.
One simple method to make employee evaluations and assessments clearer and fairer is to use multiple interviewers to assess every employee. However, that comes with its own set of issues. Many small businesses rely on only a couple of managers or supervisors to collect their human resources data. Even large companies have relatively few human resources employees compared to the total amount of people they employ.
And so, while having every person assessed by multiple people could significantly improve the quality of the data collected, the increased workload on the human resource department and the rest of the management structure would pose problems, not to mention the lost productivity due to doubling the time the staff spends being assessed. However, it is the most effective solution should your company have the time and the resources to pull it off.
In addition to having multiple authors for every assessment, it is also important to standardize performance reviews. Rating productivity, focus, customer interaction and other metrics on a simple scale of one to ten may be attractive, if only to minimize the time and effort spent by the HR department on assessments.
However, assessments produced this way are very arbitrary. After all, what exactly is the difference between a six and a seven in Conscientiousness? However, basing assessments on concrete factors, such as client feedback or workplace performance helps remove bias from the assessments. This is especially useful for smaller businesses that can set up their productivity software to collect much of this data automatically.
Speaking of software, it is important to use proper digital tools to maintain your workforce. One piece of software that is often missed by human resources managers is employee onboarding software. It is helpful not only in taking care of the new hire paperwork and setting up all the necessary computer profiles, but also in monitoring employee growth and development.
A good way to measure employee performance is to check on how their various performance metrics change over time. So rather than relying on simple numerical assessments, you can make decisions based on the changes compared to the employee baseline, and the only way to track those changes is to integrate the employee assessment into the new hire workflow. Proper employee onboarding software will help you do just that.
The Idiosyncratic Rater Effect can throw off your whole human resources effort, but it does not mean that assessments and reports generated by human resources are useless. By knowing how to counteract that effect, HR managers can hone in to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their reporting. The key to doing so is using several different reviewers, standardizing your metrics and using the right employee onboarding software. Once you do that, you can clearly see where your business is headed and how to make the most effective use of your manpower.