6 biases every performance rater should be aware of

While rating employee performance, managers and HR teams may experience unconscious bias. This may cause them to evaluate employees based on their prejudices and assumptions, rather than the employee's true efforts. Since most employees see performance reviews as an opportunity to improve, unfair feedback and evaluation caused by unconscious biases can affect their morale. Here are six unconscious biases that affect fair performance reviews:

  1. Recency bias: May cause managers to rate employees based on how they've performed in the recent past, rather than on each of their key performance milestones throughout the year.

  2. Proximity bias: May cause managers to show favoritism towards employees they see every day. They may rate hybrid and remote employees low thinking they are less productive.

  3. Gender bias: Stereotypes can influence managers to celebrate attributes like self-confidence and ambition in men but negatively judge the same qualities in women.

  4. Similar-to-me bias: May make managers extend preferential treatment to people who are similar to them in their interests, language, gender, ethnicity, etc.

  5. Contrast bias: May motivate managers to compare their team members with a particular high-performing employee, rather than seeing employees as individuals.

  6. Leniency bias: Occurs when employees provide high ratings to every employee without actually evaluating their performance.

Read more about the unconscious biases that impact performance reviews and the tips to overcome them in our HR Knowledge Hive.


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