Everyone likes to think they’re fair. The truth is that most people are simply unaware of their biases. This is fine if you’re choosing a place to eat or a movie to see, but what if you’re in charge of your company’s performance reviews?
Watch for these common biases to help monitor yourself, so you can feel more confident you’re assessing employees fairly:
- Recency Bias: This bias occurs when an employee’s performance is judged based primarily on a recent event. For example, an employee forgetting to make an important bank deposit can overshadow an otherwise long history of reliability.
- Halo Effect: This bias surfaces when a manager judges an employee high or low in all areas of job performance simply because they perform particularly high or low in one or two key areas.
- False Attribution: This is a tricky one. We have a tendency to believe a person’s success or failure happens as a direct result of how hard they try. The reality is more complex. If a project fails, was it the result of people not trying hard enough, or were there other, extenuating factors?
- Gender and Political Bias: Obviously, these are a big no-no, but if you find yourself unable to separate an employee from their political opinions, consider enlisting another, more neutral party’s help in forming your judgments.
If you start with a well-planned, multi-level system of employee assessment that is standardized throughout your organization, it is easier to look at the overall quality of a person’s performance without getting lost in the natural biases we all share.