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How does continuous feedback help in reducing leniency rating error?

The performance management

Leniency error is one of the most common rating errors observed among managers who rate employees during performance appraisals.

 Leniency error can be of two types
 1. Positive leniency error:

This type of error occurs when managers tend to rate all employees on the positive or higher scale. This is usually due to the fact that,

– Managers tend to shy away from any form of confrontation from the employee regarding a low rating.

– It is easier for them to say that the employee has done good work rather than providing an explanation for judging the work as substandard.

– A manager does not want to de-stabilize things in a well-knit team environment

– Some managers feel that good ratings would motivate employees.

– Some managers want to project themselves in a good light among the team

2. Negative leniency/Strictness error

This is just the opposite of positive leniency error. Here, managers tend to rate all employees on the negative or lower scale. This is usually due to reasons such as:

–  Managers always feel there is more room for improvement.

– Managers tend to set very high standards while evaluating performance.

Impact of Leniency Error on Employee Performance and Motivation.

While positive leniency might make employees think that they have already done a good job, and hence not motivate them to do better, negative leniency might result in de-motivating even good performers.

 How to reduce the effect of this error?

Feedback, if provided and recorded continuously can help reduce the effect of leniency error.

Continuous Feedback – Benefits:

Continuous feedback to reduce leniency rating error

1) Continuous feedback helps employees correct their mistakes and fine-tune their work immediately.

2)Feedback when provided in a timely manner will not necessarily require the manager to have a difficult confrontation, as it aims at helping/guiding the employee to perform the work better. It is never considered a form of evaluation (as in the case of yearly appraisal feedback).

3) Employees who are good performers also benefit from continuous feedback since timely appreciation only serves to motivate them to perform their jobs even better.

4) Another benefit of recording continuous feedback over a period is that it helps to validate inputs or ratings provided by managers at the time of the yearly performance appraisal. Skip-level managers will be able to get a fair idea on the employees’ performance over the past year from their continuous feedback. They can use it to compare and validate the rating provided by the manager, and any positive or negative leniency in the rating would clearly become known. This leniency error, thus identified, can be rectified easily.

By Dhivya Swamidass

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