The Absolute Standards Approach is an appraisal method used to assess the performance of employees by presenting a detailed description of the employees’ actual behavior in comparison to a certain set of standards. In this type of appraisal format, the appraisers compare the employees to a certain set of standards, which may come in the form of checklists, rating scales, etc, rather than to other employees within the organization.
The Absolute Standard Appraisal method has 4 techniques: Checklists, Essays, Critical Incidents, and Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales.
Checklist is the most common technique used by companies. It is a rating containing statements describing both effective and ineffective job behaviors. Behavioral checklists are well suited to employee development because they focus on behaviors and results, and use absolute instead of comparative standards. An advantage of using checklists is that evaluators are asked to describe rather than evaluate a subordinate’s behavior. The supervisor weighs the high and low points on his list and comes up with an overall rating for employee performance. On the other hand, a disadvantage of using checklists is the money and time it can consume for the construction of its instruments.
The essay method is a written narrative assessment for employee performance. The employers indicate the subordinate’s strengths, weaknesses, potentials and areas of improvement in the workplace. A disadvantage of essay appraisals is that they can be very time-consuming, and to a large extent, unstructured. It may also come as discriminatory and susceptible to evaluator bias, which may misrepresent the real picture of the employee or the performance. Critical Incidents are specific behaviors essential to doing a job successfully.
Behavioral traits that employees exhibit in the workplace – both effective and ineffective, are documented in writing. Employers then analyze these incidents from which a checklist is developed, indicating employee’s critical incidents that either needs praise for successful performance or training for further improvement.
Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) are rating scales, which define scale points with specific behavior statements that describes the varying degrees of performance. The scales represent a set of descriptive statements, ranging from the least to the most effective. It combines the elements from critical incident and graphic rating scale approaches. The evaluator must then indicate which behavior on each scale best describes the employee’s performance.