What are the different traditional method of Performance Appraisal?


Some of the traditional methods in practice are:

(a) Essay appraisal:

In this method, write down simply page or so about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates. These are similar to recommendation from’ a previous employer of a candidate seeking a new job, or a recommendation from a previous professor for a student who has applied for admission to a programme and these recommendations carry a significant weight.


(b) Ranking methods:

The ranking methods are of two types:

i) Straight ranking method:

This method simply ranks the person from the “most valuable” to the “least valuable”. This is the simplest method of separating the most efficient from the least efficient work. However, this is a highly subjective method and can be highly prejudiced.


ii) Paired comparison ranking:

By this technique each employee is compared with all other persons in a group, one at a time. The results of these comparisons are tabulated and a rank is assigned to each individual.

c) The factor comparison method:

In this method certain key factors are selected, (such as leadership, hard work, dependability etc.) and each factor is ranked on a scale according to its importance to the job.


Based on the ranks of these individual characteristics, a “keyman” is created. Each worker to be rated is compared with the key man factor and a ranking of the worker is established relative to the ‘key man’.

d) Graphic rating scales:

Graphic rating scale is still the most commonly used method. It assesses a person on the quality of his work divided into a number of factors. These factors can be categorized as employee characteristics and employee contributions.

The employee characteristics include qualities such as initiative, leadership, dependability, emotional stability, enthusiasm, loyalty, decisiveness, maturity, analytical ability, coordination and cooperation.


The employee contributions include quantity and quality of work, responsibilities undertaken, results achieved, devotion to the organisation, attitudes towards superiors as well as subordinates, versatility in communication etc.

These traits are then evaluated on a “continuous” scale from unsatisfactory to outstanding, where in the rater puts his mark somewhere along this scale based on his judgment of that particular trait.

e) The field review method:

The field review method is generally a review process where a member of the personnel department or from the central management staff meets with the line supervisors or raters in small groups and goes over each employee’s rating with them to ensure that any personal bias that may have been introduced when rating the employee is eliminated and that all raters understand the standards fairly and uniformly.


f) Group appraisal method:

This is simply the appraisal of a worker by a group of people rather than a single rater and a general consensus or a majority decision is accepted. Even though this technique is highly time consuming, it is more comprehensive and free of bias since it involves multiple judges.

g) Forced choice method:

In this method, the rating elements are several descriptive statements including those that best fit the individual being tested and those that fit the least. The rate is forced to choose among these statements, leaving no grounds to make his own. These statements are then weighted or scored by judies other than the “rater and the workers are ranked according to these scores.

h) Checklist and zueighted checklist method:

It is similar to the forced choice method and lists a number of questions relating to the job and the worker which require answers in the form of yes or no. The rater is more of a reporter. The rater indicates whether the answer to a given question is positive or negative about the given worker.

Unlike the conventional checklist, a weighted checklist has a scale value, generally from 1 to 9, where 9 is the most favourable for each question, and the workers are compared with each other based on the scores on these scales.

i) Critical incident method:

The critical incident method is based on the principle that “there are certain acts or incidents as a result of employee’s behaviour of performance which make the difference between the success and the failure. These critical incidents both good and bad are recorded so that the supervisor has some factual basis for discussion during evaluation. These collected incidents are then ranked in order of frequency and importance.

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