Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale is defined as a measuring system that is utilized for a performance-based rating of the employees.
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What is the Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale?
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale, also known as BARS, is a measuring system that is implemented by many employers to measure and rate their employees. It is entirely based on the performance and behavioral patterns of the employees. To develop the BARS evaluation, there must be an understanding of every position and its key tasks.
Also, there should be an understanding of all the possible behaviors which are displayed by the person who is carrying out such a task. These behaviors of the employees are rated and given a rating according to a rating scale.
The scale categorizes the employee’s behavior in four categories, which are exceptional, excellent, competent, and unsatisfactory.
Specific behaviors are established for grading, which has the purpose of giving the rating a high degree of accuracy for the performance.
Example of Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale
Job type: Sales rep
A level four out of five ratings may say that the rep is a consistent performer and achieves his targets and sales quota.
A level two out of five says that the rep sometimes achieves his sales targets.
The traditional rating scale would rate as follows: 1 – Never achieves the sales targets, 2 – Rarely archives the numbers, 3 – Sometimes achieves the targets, 4 – Consistently achieve the sales targets, 5 – consistently reaches and exceeds the targets.
This way, BARS can be customized for every job, and the behaviors or ratings can be made job-specific. It gives detailed insight into the performance of the employee on his job, and the manager can measure and categorize his behavior accordingly.
Steps for BARS
Both qualitative, as well as quantitative data of the employees, are evaluated in this process. The process benefits by comparing the performance of an individual against specific behavioral examples. These are further categorized, and a numerical value is used for the performance rating.
Critical Incident techniques or CIT writing is the first step. It compares the performance of an individual against specific examples. These are further tied to ratings of 5 – 9. Further significant incidents are scaled, and the final instrument is developed.
The development of BARS takes place by the data which is collected by CIT or task analysis. The following are the steps for the development of BARS:
- CIT technique is used for data collection. Knowledgeable people of the job are consulted to know the examples of effective and ineffective behavior. Sometimes data is also collected from the examination of existing data.
- The collected data is converted into performance dimensions. The examples of behavior are sorted into similar groups, and each group is defined adequately before sorting.
- The next step is consulting the subject matter experts. These experts help to translate the behavioral examples into their performance dimensions. The behaviors that do not translate very highly on the agreement level are retained, and the rest are discarded. This process is conducted to ensure that behaviors are identifiable with their performance dimensions.
- The behaviors which were retained in the above step are scaled – usually on a 5 to 9 point scale.
- Standard deviation plays an essential role in the retention of the behaviors. A high standard deviation will result in discarding the behavior and vice versa. This step ensures expert agreement of each behavior.
Advantages of the BARS method
- Clarity is one of the most significant advantages of the BARS method. The appraisal standards which are used are evident, and it makes the process easier to understand for everyone.
- The entire BARS method is based on behavior and behavioral analysis. Understanding their employees and what drives them and what doesn’t is essential for the companies. With the help of the BARS method, they have an added perspective, which helps them to understand what works and what does not. Hence it allows them to understand the employee and drive efficiency.
- This method is not partial since it is based entirely on the behavior. As compared to other evaluation methods, this method is seen as more fair.
- The BARS method is individualized and hence customized for every employee. It creates the ability to design a tailored performance management process for everyone in the company.
- The BARS method is known to give objective feedback to the employees since it is based on the employee’s behavior.
- BARS is also used to understand customer behavior so that the employees can react with them accordingly.
- Apart from clarity, BARS provides ease of use for the managers as well as for the employees. Since it has a numerical rating, it provides certainty for every numerical rating and removes any employee ambiguity.
Disadvantages of the BARS method
- One of the BARS method’s primary disadvantages is that it is time-consuming and requires a very high level of maintenance and monitoring. It is to be created from scratch for every position in the company, which can be exhausting and costing a lot of resources for the organization.
- The rating does not cover all the actions of the employee. There could be many behaviors exhibited by the employee which are not present on the scale, and in such cases, it can be challenging for the manager to rate the employee.
- BARS necessitates a high degree of monitoring and maintenance.
- It can be a very demanding process from the managers since a manager is expected to have detailed information about their employees’ actions. It can cost a lot of time for the managers to gather such data and many managers let this slide.
BARS method is a performance management scale that uses behavior statements instead of generic descriptors.
It is easy to understand and implement and can be tailored for every job but very difficult to create. The BARS method emphasizes objective ratings, and it is tough to distort.
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