November '19: Removing Bias from Reviews

With only a couple of months remaining in the year, now is a great time to consider what easy but impactful improvements you can make to your annual review process. Below are some quick configuration changes that can help your employees get even more out of the upcoming performance review!

As recommended by Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab in their HBR article Why Most Performance Evaluations Are Biased, and How to Fix Them from earlier this year, consider the following tips to reduce the cognitive biases that may impact your annual reviews:

  • Drive Specificity: Create questions that encourage managers and employees to give specific answers. To start, add a number of examples that should be provided in support of each response to each question. This will help managers review each of their team members equitably and circumvent any implicit bias that might prevent them from giving unbalanced reviews across the team. Additionally, prompting managers with forward-looking questions about improving performance makes for a much more actionable and positive review for the employee.
  • Ensure Clarity: Give managers with a rubric that they can use to develop a well thought out response. By giving examples of what makes for a carefully developed review, managers can get a better idea of what good answers looks like and identify the shortcomings in what they’ve drafted. It’s very easy to link to an external rubric in the Description section of your conversation template - managers can keep this open as they record their responses in Betterworks.
  • Support Consistency: By configuring access in the Permissions settings of a conversation template (Step 4) you can enable your team to review manager responses and provide coaching, thus improving the overall value of the process to both employees and the business. While this may seem like a high-bandwidth activity, incorporating our first two tips will help managers start on the right foot and enable your team to make more actionable recommendations for them.

Making these changes can be the first step towards enabling your managers to be better coaches by being more specific, structured, and consistent in the feedback they give their team members throughout the year.

We’re happy to help you brainstorm more specific questions, review the response rubric you’re drafting, or understand how to configure access for HR Admins. Please share your questions, ideas, and stories below!

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