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Memory and Performance Appraisals at Work. Module from SIOP. Performance Appraisal. Process by which employees are given feedback on job performance Often annual or semi-annual The question: How is a boss supposed to remember what each employee did or didn’t do?. What’s going on?.

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performance appraisal
Performance Appraisal
  • Process by which employees are given feedback on job performance
  • Often annual or semi-annual
  • The question: How is a boss supposed to remember what each employee did or didn’t do?
what s going on
What’s going on?

Performance appraisal can be viewed as a classic example of how we cognitively process and remember things

The boss (or other rater)…

  • observes relevant behaviors
  • encodes information about performance
  • stores encoded information in memory
  • retrieves information needed for the evaluation
  • integrates retrieved information with other available info (e.g., documentation)
  • assigns an evaluation to the person being rated
heuristics how raters cope
Heuristics: How Raters Cope”
  • Many raters use heuristics to create “cognitive shortcuts” to help make ratings
  • The problem: Heuristics are based on general impressions or information and lack specificity
  • Halo error!
how can raters be more accurate
How can raters be more accurate?
  • Training (e.g., Frame-of-Reference)
  • Diary/log keeping
  • Make performance appraisal a process, not an “event”
  • Structure the performance appraisal ratings so that specific information has to be recalled
    • One tool: Behaviorally anchored rating scales

Maintains A Good Work Relationship

Discusses work-related issues with supervisor and other work group

members using knowledge gained from work experience to improve

work unit efficiency or quality, or to solve work-related problems.

what can you do
What can YOU do?
  • If you’re receiving a performance evaluation
        • Come prepared
          • Keep track of what you do
          • If you have a “Development Plan,” bring it
          • Any specific information you can provide makes the rater’s job easier
    • Don’t panic!
      • The most common use for performance appraisals is feedback; accurate feedback can only help you get better at your job
for more information
For more information…

Balzer, W. K., & Sulsky, L. M. (1992). Halo and performance appraisal research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 975-985. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.77.6.975

DeNisi, A. S., Cafferty, T. P., & Meglino, B. M. (1984). A cognitive view of the performance appraisal process: A model and research propositions. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 33, 360-396. doi:10.1013/0030-5073(84)90029-1

Uggerslev, K. L., & Sulsky, L. M. (2008). Using frame-of-reference training to understand the implications of rater idiosyncrasy for rating accuracy. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 711-719. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.3.711