Moderation in Performance Appraisals

The Objective of Performing Moderation in Performance Appraisals

The purpose of moderation is to ensure that

  • Supervisors evaluate performance in a consistent way;
  • There is a common understanding of the standards required at each level of the rating scale
  • The integrity of the system is protected.

The moderation process focuses more on an enquiry about a rating, rather than being a process necessarily requiring change.

Principles Adopted in Moderation

  • Managers must have current and direct knowledge of staff members in order to engage in discussion.
  • Managers cannot reference information from previous performance cycles.
  • All anecdotal evidence provided by managers must be supported by evidence.
  • Private information that may impact upon the individual’s performance rating e.g. health status, personal circumstances, will not be discussed in the meeting.

Criteria for Moderation

The moderators will evaluate the employee and decide on the relative rating by comparing the performance and contribution of the employee with his peers in the Department, on the following factors:

    • Stretch factor in the Objectives
    • Degree of difficulty / complexity in achievement of Objectives
    • Relative Contribution made towards achieving the Department goals
    • Any other critical incident impacting the rating / evaluation

What is the order in the moderation process?

Start the moderation discussion with a presentation of evidence from supervisors or managers on their staff in the following sequence:

  • Staff with an ‘excellent’ performance rating (rating 5).
  • Staff with a ‘high achievement’ performance rating (rating 4).
  • Staff with a ‘partial achievement’ performance rating (rating 2).
  • Staff with ‘unsatisfactory’ performance rating (rating 1).

What How Chart

Seniors Management’s Discretion

The Senior Management shall have the discretion to re-rank a staff that was rated a 3.Any such re-ranking must be supported by evidences in work performance as required in this procedure.

What are the Evidences in Work Performance That We Want to Establish?

Final Rating Score Descriptions
5 The staff has shown exceptional performance in all aspects of their work over the review period.

  • For Executives and above, they have delivered to a high standard in at least 75% of the individual objectives within their control
  • The overall quality of their work has been consistently high throughout the whole year.
  • The staff has demonstrated all the behaviours and competencies relevant to their role to a consistently higher level than expected or required.
  • They have ‘gone that extra mile’ showing a can do attitude and added value to the organization through their achievements.
  • The person is keen learner and have an active learning plan.
  • The staff has adhered to all policies and procedures and kept up with the organization’s operating standards. In addition, the staff has modelled best practices in this respect.
  • This staff literally “stands out” amongst the others in their function. They will have either produced specific pieces of work which have received wider notice or recognition beyond their team, or displayed general conduct which has attracted similar positive attention.
  • The staff was not subject to any disciplinary corrective measures.
  • The staff has not taken excessive absences.
4 The staff has demonstrated a level of performance above what would be expected.

  • For Executives and above, the staff has met all of the objectives within their control and achieved a higher than expected standard in at least 50% of these.
  • The staff has, worked proactively to overcome any obstacles and have demonstrated an effective level of performance throughout the year, producing quality work.
  • The staff has demonstrated all the behaviours and competencies relevant to their role to an extent that is frequently above the expected or required level.
  • The staff has adhered to all policies and procedures and kept up with the organization’s operating standards as good practice.
  • The staff is recognized as performing well above the required standard.
  • The staff was not subject to any disciplinary corrective measures.
  • The staff has not taken excessive absences.
3 The individual performs at a level that is expected across the organization.

  • For Executives and above, the staff has met all of the key objectives which were within their control and have demonstrated a generally effective level of performance throughout the year.
  • Their quality of work has been appropriate to the role.
  • The staff has demonstrated all the behaviours and competencies relevant to their role to a satisfactory level.
  • The staff has adhered to all policies and procedures in following the organization’s operating standards.
  • The staff has achieved a good year’s performance.
2 The individual’s performance does not meet expectations on grounds such as:

  • For Executives and above, some objectives have not been met which were within the individual’s control to achieve.
  • The quality of all or some of their work has been below and acceptable standard during the year.
  • The individual does not demonstrate the job specific behaviours or / and competencies required for their role to an acceptable standard.
1
  • The employee lacks the majority of the job specific behaviours or / and competencies required for success in his/her job.
  • This may result in significant inefficiencies or issues that negatively impact the work or the team.
  • Improvement is required in most critical behaviors.

Excessive Absences

Excessive absences exists when a staff’s absence from work, whether excused or not, has an adverse effect on a department’s ability to complete normal work requirements or provide normal services. The employee’s frequent absences render the employee unavailable for work, thus creating a hardship on the department.

Mitigation for Unsatisfactory or Poor Performance

Evidence given in mitigation of poor or unsatisfactory performance shall only be accepted if the following criteria are met:

(a) If the employee has duly informed the Manager in a timely manner and in writing.

(b) If the relevant factors or circumstances are such that they are out of the control of either the Manager or employee.

(c) If the Manager and employee demonstrate that the relevant factors or circumstances could not be overcome within the relevant performance cycle.

Evidence given in mitigation shall also be accepted if proposed solutions to the challenges may result in the organization being in conflict with its own policies and procedures or key legislation.

The Manager shall approve all these requests and these shall be reviewed and validated by the Moderation Panel.

Information which can be used in the Moderation Meeting 

  • Current completed Performance Appraisal Form for the staff member
  • Evidence of completion of individual staff member performance objectives
  • Evidence of completion of individual staff member unplanned outcomes
  • Position Description
  • Other evidence of performance or information to support the appropriateness of an individual’s performance rating.

 Querying Performance Ratings

 Supervisors may not discuss a staff member’s performance rating with other staff. They can discuss ratings with their line management. Discussing a staff member’s performance rating with another staff member is a breach of confidentiality. If a staff member queries their performance rating comparing it with another staff member’s rating, you will need to let them know you cannot discuss this.

Central Tendency and ‘Leniency’

A small percentage of supervisors shirk their responsibility for giving honest ratings by rating all their staff “exceeds expectations” (central tendency) or with a “Exceeds Expectations” or “Exceptional” (leniency).

They leave the realistic assessment and subsequent adjustment of ratings to a higher level supervisor or the Moderation Panel, which can then be ’blamed’ for reducing high ratings to a more realistic level.

This unwillingness to take responsibility reflects poorly developed leadership skills. In such cases such a supervisor’s manager should take this apparent weakness into account when rating the supervisor in his or her performance appraisal.

The Moderation Panel will follow-up with the supervisor’s manager.

Failure to take up strict measures will result in inflated ratings and undermine the credibility and consistency of the entire scheme.

Equally important is the way the Moderation Panel operates. This committee should not adjust/amend the ratings of individual staff based on personal knowledge or prejudices.

The scheme relies on the agreement between the direct supervisor and staff member on results and capabilities based on evidence, i.e. Portfolios and observation of practical application, etc. It is accepted that the immediate supervisor would have the most complete knowledge of the staff member’s performance.

The Moderation Panel should only become involved in reassessment where ratings are clearly questionable and supervisors did not re-assess such ratings. The Panel would have to follow-up with some form of disciplinary action against such supervisors. The role of the Moderation Panel is to maintain a strategic overview of the process, and not get involved in second-guessing or reassessing of individual staff.

 

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