Evolution and Change
Chapter 10: Ways to improve the performance appraisal system 1: Rater training
It stands to reason that appraisers set to observe and evaluate employees using performance appraisal techniques will improve their performance through adequate and appropriate training. The challenges, however, we recall, include overcoming rater errors, feelings of discomfort with performance appraisal (PA), and the possibility of biases entering into the evaluation process due to preconceived perceptions and personal (political) agendas. Notably, the assumption underlying the training is that there is real transferability from the training class to the real situation at the organization. Moreover, if given a clear idea of what the performance dimensions mean and what different performance levels look like, raters will be more likely to show (more) agreement in their evaluations. In this chapter then, in addition to discussing these basic assumptions, we introduce the concept of frame-of-reference training (see also Chapter 13), designed basically to ensure that raters adopt a common frame of reference regarding target performance dimensions and performance levels. Additionally, we take a look at raters’ motivations as a source of rater error. Despite cynicism regarding the efficacy of training and the relative dearth of research, Tziner (2002) among others, upholds its virtues. To this end, the chapter includes a discussion of the content and methodology of training programs, a sample of a successful training model, and a brief review of current trends in rater training programs.
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