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).
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.
|4||The staff has demonstrated a level of performance above what would be expected.
|3||The individual performs at a level that is expected across the organization.
|2||The individual’s performance does not meet expectations on grounds such as:
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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