- HR teams and business leaders use performance assessments for talent planning decisions and to support company-wide objectives, but it's important to remove as many biases as possible, according to Reflektive. The people management platform's 2020 HR Trends Report analyzed the current state of performance reviews and calibration to address biases. The survey also gauged diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
- About 74% of the 500 HR professionals and business leaders surveyed made changes to their performance evaluations in 2020, and 82% expect the changes to continue into 2021. The majority (71%) of respondents said employee success and areas for development were included in review forms in addition to manager feedback (69%); and 65% of respondents said both evaluation on competencies and employee goal completion were included as well.
- However, 40% of respondents felt that bias existed in their company's performance reviews, according to the report. The majority (63%) of respondents calibrate performance ratings to address biases, according to Reflektive. On a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being of greatest importance), more than 75% of respondents said that calibration was an eight, nine or 10. But calibration isn't always a perfect experience for HR teams leaders and managers. The majority (63%) of respondents noted a "pain point" of calibration — the data on employee performance is not comprehensive enough to make precise evaluations, according to the report.
Employers can keep performance assessments fair by eliminating biases based on gender, race, culture or any other subjective qualifier.
The use of calibration committees can help an employee's performance review scores potentially affected by a manager's bias or inequitable standards of evaluation, according to research. Calibration programs can help to root out bias, but they do have some drawbacks, Reflektive's survey found. Pitfalls in calibration included lack of comprehensive data, time consuming processes and a need for improvement of session facilitation, some respondents in Reflektive's survey noted.
Although bias can be difficult to remove, techniques such as including goal statuses in review forms may help managers rate performance objectively, according to Reflektive. By incorporating progress on key projects in employee evaluations, companies may help remove a manager's biases. "Simple things like pulling in goals, feedback and recognition can really provide a holistic view of employee performance, and remove some of the unconscious biases that occur in the review process," Reflektive CHRO Rachel Ernst said in the report.
But as companies adopt various techniques to address bias in performance reviews, more steps need to be taken in improving inclusion, equity and belonging, according to the report. To better understand workforce sentiment in this area, companies should take a deeper dive into their engagement survey data, the report found. "Specifically, understanding the highest impact questions, and the most frequent comment themes, will help HR teams prioritize their DEI activities," Reflektive recommended.
Although many companies are taking action, "it remains to be seen how organizations will follow through on their commitments to their initiatives, and make them part of their daily behavior," Ernst said in the report.