The BARS Approach
Establishing specific behaviors for grading, are meant to give the rating a higher degree of accuracy relative to performance. This is because you’re relying on unique, individual behaviors required for each individual position within an organization, instead of behaviors that can be evaluated in any position across the board. It is presumed that using a rating scale with specific behaviors for selected jobs, minimizes the subjectivity in using basic ratings scales. We’ll take a closer look at this later to see if it’s true.
BARS - Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales - are one of many ways that conduct agent performance evaluation. It is seen by many as a more modern approach, since it focuses more on employee behaviors and the employee as a person, rather than simply the straightforward productivity and output of the staff member while they are at work. This method dives deeper than most appraisal methods. Instead of providing a general list of items that can be checked off and compared across any position within the company, it focuses on behaviors to evaluate individual performance within the specific position each employee works. This offers a highly accurate, in-depth picture of how each staff member is performing and what improvements need to be made. The scale used for BARS assessment is an easy-to-understand 1-5 scale, with five being the highest level of performance and one being the least desirable. Perhaps the biggest sticking point for many employers when considering utilizing the BARS method in their facility is the individualized approach it requires. Especially in larger companies, this simply isn’t practical in many cases. While breaking down agent performance evaluation into departments or groups can help work around this issue, it can still be difficult to adequately focus on each person and their behavior on an individual basis the way the method requires when you have hundreds or even thousands of employees on-site. The use of the method can also be rather high-maintenance and demanding of managers, especially if one person or a small group are expected to conduct the majority of the appraisals. Since each person being evaluated needs individual attention, it becomes necessary to break the task up between larger groups of management team members. This is perhaps one of the only ways to make this method work properly in the contact center setting; otherwise, evaluations might take all year to finish!
Performance appraisal has been given a legal dimension which varies from country to country. Data Protection act in the UK, for instance, provides individual employees the legal right to access personal data. This includes information about them contained in appraisal documents, if it is stored in the computer. The Act also defines personnel data and covers both factual and evaluative information. This implies that employees could access opinions about them expressed in appraisal documents (Chandramohan, 2006, p. 139).
Gathering such data can be quite time-consuming, and many managers end up letting this slide.
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