Get Rid of Employee Appraisal Bias – Optimize Performance of Remote Employees

The world is stepping into the future, breaking away from the conventional office style workplace and transitioning towards the convenience and benefit of a remote workplace. Thanks in part to the advantages it provides over the traditional workplace setup and in part to how the world is functioning post-COVID-19, the remote working model is being adopted at a very rapid pace by businesses throughout the world. 

However, it’s still a relatively new and comparatively untested model, remote employees themselves bring with them new challenges as well. It is important to ensure that the productivity of your remote employee is not hindered by a perception that they are being unfairly monitored and appraised. One such challenge is Employee Appraisal Bias 

According to research, on average, 61% of an appraisal is based solely on the bias of the rater rather than empirical dataThis type of bias can lead to inaccuracies in the appraisal reports, which can cause several problems. The magnitude of these problems will be significantly amplified in a remote working situation as it is harder to establish loyalty and trust. If done right, employee appraisals are great for providing feedback and measuring the productivity of your remote workforce. 

Should You Get Rid of Employee Appraisal Bias?

Employee Performance Appraisal is not a novel concept. However, its application concerning remote employees is. Employee performance appraisal is the systematic evaluation of an employee’s performance. Employee performance appraisals give you a clear picture of the state of your workforce which will aid you in making critical business decisions. Accurate appraisals are invaluably beneficial for the productivity of your remote workforce. You can use them as a reference point for measuring the performance of your remote employees and reward the employees that stand out. They also give you a clear picture of the areas that your remote workforce is lacking in. This gives you a logical idea of what can be improved. 

There are obvious advantages of employee performance appraisal when done right. However, if done with bias, it can seriously hamper the performance of your remote employees, adversely affecting their productivity. And this is just the start of the harm that it can cause. A healthy workplace culture creates a nurturing environment for employees to grown and learn, unfair appraisals can hurt the motivation of your employees and if allowed to persist, in the long term this situation can end in legal problems such as employees suing for discrimination and unfair treatment. And further yet, the mistreatment of employees can lead to serious consequences such as data leaks and insider information trading, etc. 

Here are some of the things to understand and look out for regarding employee appraisal bias: 

  1. First Impressions—Often when conducting an appraisal the rater creates an overall profile of the employee based on the first minute of their interaction. This is a biased approach and the information the appraisal is based on here is inadequate, to say the least. 
  2. Halo Effect—The appraisal is based on a perceived positive quality or feature of the employee thus clouding the actual merit of the employee. 
  3. Horn Effect – The appraisal is based solely on a perceived negative quality or feature of the employee. 
  4. Personal Biases–The rater may judge the employee based on their personal preferences instead of their actual merit or empirical data. This will surely not give an accurate performance report of the employee but a biased opinion of the rater. 
  5. Recency Effect—The overall performance of the employee is based on their most recent performance instead of their general performance. 

One of the most important attributes and assets of a successful company is quality and productive employees. It is important to have a system in place to differentiate the good employees from the bad ones. This will help you eliminate poor performance and promote good performance, lifting the morale and overall productivity of your whole team. If you are transitioning towards a remote workplace model, it is essential for you to focus on building a highly productive remote team. Creating and maintaining a quality remote workforce requires bias-free employee performance appraisals.

It's not that difficult.

All of this can easily be avoided by conducting fair and data-based appraisals. Most employee appraisals are based on the managers’ subjective evaluation instead of hard data points. If there is no data on the performance appraisal how can it possibly be unbiased? Beite’s WPS (Workplace Productivity Solution) service solves this problem as it allows you to collect all the data required to conduct an unbiased appraisal of your remote employees. 

The ultimate success or failure of a company often comes down to the quality of employees

Jack Welch, Ex-Chairman of General Electric 

It is a journey getting rid of employee appraisal bias, but it is one worth taking. There are several ways that will help you minimize and eventually get rid of employee appraisal bias. 

  1. An effective way of getting rid of bias is to diversify and broaden your criteria. It is important to include strengths as well as weaknesses in all respects of the appraisal. For example, a remote employee might not be a good public speaker, but he/she is a talented writer. If you mention both these qualities in the report, it will eliminate bias. 
  2. Shorten the time gap between appraisals. The more appraisals you conduct, the better will be the quality and accuracy of the information that you get. If you conduct one appraisal per year, you might suffer from recency effect, but conducting several appraisals over the course of a year will give you more information and it will be free from this bias. 
  3. It is also important to base the appraisal on mostly empirical data and make it as objective as possible. This minimizes the chance of the appraisal being biased towards one person’s point of view. 

Since we have established by now that employee appraisal bias is a very real and harmful thing, especially in a remote working environment. Making an effort to minimize and eradicate it is definitely worthwhile. It will boost your remote employees’ productivity massively!  

BEITE is your gateway to the future. So, take one small step inside and it will be a huge leap into the world of the future for your business. At BEITE we provide you with all the tools that you will require to convert your office into a successful remote workplace. The productivity of a remote employee can simply be measured by the time that employee is spending on the tools that are related to their job as opposed to things that are unrelated to their jobs. The results are then factored in with their overall output to determine the performance quality of the remote employee. At BIETE, our WPS(Workforce Productivity Solution) enables you to measure this and keep informed about your remote employees’ productivity and quality. 

Accurate appraisals can help you massively increase the productivity of your remote workforce and will definitely help your organization grow. It is a worthwhile pursuit.