How HR Helps Performance Review Calibration and Standardization

by Srikant Chellappa Aug 30,2023
Engagedly
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Performance review calibration is a workplace mechanism involving a formal discussion of proposed employee ratings among managers. The goal is to conduct a comprehensive performance evaluation of an employee, ascertaining their future, promotion, appraisals, etc., in the company.

Performance review calibration serves as a powerful tool in ensuring a uniform set of guidelines for assessing the performance of all employees. These calibrations also assist leaders in supporting one another and collaborating on the standards that should be set for team members at all levels of the organization. This helps managers draft employee expectations while determining the best way to conduct performance reviews. This practice removes the bias in the performance review process and ensures managers agree on the performance criteria against which their reports will be rated.

This article outlines the performance review calibration process, its significance, and some best practices.

What Is Calibration in Performance Reviews?

Performance review calibration (or performance management calibration) enables managers in an organization to maintain similar standards in each of their direct reports. This ensures everyone in the department is ranked on the same scale. The department, employee level, or job role can gauge and decide calibrations.

A firm should perform performance review calibrations before each significant review cycle. However, they may also be carried out if departments merge or organizations go through a management transition.

Also read: Introducing A Performance Management Tool In Your Organization

The Role of HR in Performance Calibration

Role of HR in performance calibration

HR professionals play a pivotal role in successful calibration sessions. They act as neutral facilitators, mitigating bias, conflict, and meeting fatigue. HR professionals must define clear behavioral expectations from participants, introduce data, and manage group size and agendas. 

Ensuring Consistency

As a neutral facilitator, an HR should ensure fairness, objectivity, and consistency during calibration and standardization sessions of performance reviews. In addition to defining and upholding the criteria used to evaluate personnel, HR also assists managers in this process.

Aligning Employee-Employer Goals

HR professionals collaborate with managers to identify key performance indicators to evaluate an employee’s performance. They also set defined and objective performance criteria that align with the company’s vision and values.

Maintaining Review Cycles

Performance review cycles - performance calibration

HR is responsible for holding performance review calibration meetings after every review cycle. These review cycles may be annual, biannual, or more regular, depending on how a business is set up. The important thing is to keep the performance review calibration process consistent. A Betterworks survey reveals that 66% of companies implementing a continuous performance management system witnessed enhanced productivity.

Training Managers

HR provides necessary training to managers to understand effective evaluation techniques. The training equips managers with the skills to conduct fair assessments. HR educates managers about various aspects of performance evaluations. These aspects could be giving constructive feedback, counseling on performance issues, and deciding corrective actions while maintaining a supportive environment for growth.

Tracking Standardization

Furthermore, HR needs to monitor and keep track of the performance review process’s overall efficacy. It is their role to examine data gathered from evaluations to spot trends and potential improvement areas. The data lets them choose talent management methods like promotions, career advancement opportunities, or corrective measures.

An HR must compile aggregate and historical data for the business, including average ratings across critical factors, performance distributions, and the identification of outliers. Human Resources professionals’ involvement in performance review calibration and standardization is paramount for fostering transparency in the workplace while boosting trust and employee morale.

By setting clear evaluation standards, facilitating calibration sessions, educating managers regarding the process, and analyzing evaluation data – HR contributes significantly towards enhancing employee engagement and cultivating a culture of continuous improvement within organizations. 

Steps Involved in Calibration of Performance Reviews

Steps Involved in Calibration of Performance Reviews

Calibrating and standardizing performance reviews are essential in keeping the review process unbiased and accurate. An organization’s HR drives the calibration process, including building capability models and facilitating manager calibration discussions. To effectively calibrate and standardize performance reviews, HR must follow these five steps:

Define Specific Criteria

Managers and supervisors should meet with executives and HR to review the goals, the evaluation process, and the standards for good performance ratings. Performance standards should support organizational objectives and offer a framework for evaluating many facets of job performance.

Train Managers

Managers need to be educated about effective techniques for performance evaluations. This includes training managers about the importance of calibration and guiding how to assess employees consistently using the established criteria.

A survey by Gartner found that 47% of HR leaders cannot identify employee skill gaps and training needs. Hence, HR should identify the training requirements for managers and accordingly use the latest methods and friendly technology to provide training.

Also read: Performance Appraisal Checklist for Managers and Employees

Conduct Calibration Meetings

HR representatives and senior management discuss employee appraisals. To ensure managers evaluate employees according to the same criteria, the group reviews the performance reports and employee ratings. Certain managers may rate employees as top performers, while others may rate the same employees as average performers.

Discussions are held to verify that ratings are issued properly and consistently and to modify individual ratings to conform to criteria. Consider using organizational charts for an easy-to-read overview of the employees.

Also read: Performance Calibration Meetings: Everything You Need To Know

Encourage Ongoing Feedback

Managers should understand the importance of continuous feedback. Regular feedback throughout the year, rather than waiting until the formal review period, helps ensure employees clearly understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, managers should be able to justify their ratings and comments and offer corrective actions and next steps for each employee.

Employee recognition statistics show that 85% of surveyed professionals feel weekly check-ins with their manager(s) increase employee engagement compared to their counterparts with annual reviews.

Communicate Feedback

Once necessary adjustments and decisions have been made, managers can communicate and discuss their performance reviews with employees. Managers should support their reviews with corrective action or a professional development plan for the employee. A study found that 86% of employees feel they would quit their current jobs in case of no opportunities for professional development.

Importance of Performance Reviews Calibration Process

Importance of Performance Reviews Calibration Process

Data by Gallup reveals that focusing on a robust performance management system has lowered turnover rates by 14.9%. Performance review calibration and standardization benefit organizations of all sizes. Businesses can guarantee a fair, accurate, and reliable performance evaluation by implementing a robust calibration mechanism.

Fair Ratings

One of the primary benefits of holding calibration sessions is that they promote fairness throughout the organization. When managers calibrate performance reviews, they compare ratings across different verticals or departments to ensure consistency. This eliminates any potential risk of favoritism that may exist.

For example, a lenient manager may rate all his employees 5/5, while a stricter manager may rate employees with similar performance standards a 3/5. The performance review calibration process aims to mitigate such discrepancies.

Also read: 9 Ways To Tackle Unconscious Bias At Work

Employee Engagement

Another benefit of calibration is its ability to propel employee engagement and development. With standardized performance reviews, employees gain insight into their strengths and areas for improvement. This enables them to understand where they stand regarding company expectations and provides a roadmap for career growth and advancement.

Also read: Best Employee Engagement Strategies for Better Workplace

Enhanced Communication

Calibration meetings are crucial in fostering open communication between managers and employees. This transparent communication is important for any business to have its employees aligned with the organization’s goals.

Calibration sessions involve open dialogue between multiple stakeholders from various levels within the organization and cultivate a culture of collaboration and shared understanding among team members.

Better Decision-Making

Additionally, calibrated performance assessments provide organizations with useful information for making informed talent management decisions, including succession planning and promotions.

By prioritizing and implementing efficient performance review calibration and standardization processes, companies foster an inclusive work environment based on meritocracy. Investing in robust performance management software is a great way to strengthen an organization’s overall performance management system.

Also read: 5 Reasons To Start Using An HR Management Software For Your Business!

Summing Up

Equitable performance evaluations are only possible with performance management calibrations. When conducted properly, performance reviews inspire workers, foster learning via constructive feedback, and provide businesses insight into employee performance.

For every business, getting the performance appraisal cycle right is important. Engagedly provides new-age performance management software to align people’s practices with organizational strategy. Our all-in-one performance management system helps you get performance review calibrations right the first time by combining the tools, workflows, and insights to develop engaged and high-performing employees within a winning culture.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What do the 3 R’s of performance management refer to?

Ans. The three R’s of performance management are rewards, retention, and remuneration.

Q2. What is the difference between KPIs and KRAs?

Ans. KRAs (or Key Responsibility Areas) refer to a set of responsibilities attached to a job profile. KPIs (or Key Performance Areas) are the metrics used to measure the level of accomplishment of KRAs.

Q3. Can managers have their rating scale for appraising an employee’s performance?

Ans. No, the rating scale must be the same across all the organization’s departments. Managers cannot develop an additional rating scale.


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Author
Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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