Employee Experience

Behavioral Observation Scale: How Does It Work?

5 Mins read

The behavioral observation scale is a popular performance appraisal approach because it is dependable and simple to apply. Since it focuses on conduct rather than results, it differs from an outcomes-based performance appraisal. What is a behavioral observation scale, what are its benefits and drawbacks, and how do you make one? Let’s get into it!

What is a behavioral observation scale?

A behavioral observation scale assesses the behaviors you wish to see from the people in your team. The scale section denotes that the circumstance is not a yes/no issue, but rather one in which the employees are rated on a scale. A five-point scale, for example, would ask the manager to choose from the following options for how frequently an employee demonstrates each behavior:

  1. Almost never
  2. Rarely
  3. Sometimes
  4. Often
  5. Almost always 

Never and always aren’t usually the options because they’re unreasonable in most situations. Many intended behaviors are included on the scale, and the scores are added together to generate an overall quality score.

Example of a behavioral observation scale

Management, for example, instead of grading employees based on the number of sales they close, rate them based on their day-to-day conduct, asking questions like:

structured observation in hr

On a scale of 1 to 5 (almost never to almost always), rate the employee on the given comments:

  • Keeps clients informed about new product releases.
  • Discusses sales leads with the rest of the team.
  • Assists colleagues in following up with possible clients.
  • Treats all coworkers with respect, demonstrating the value of diversity and inclusion.
  • Completes sales records in a timely and precise manner.
  • Responds quickly to internal inquiries, which adds value.

Now you see how this behavior-based idea is more concerned with what someone does than with their outcomes. In a results-oriented employee review, numbers would take precedence over actions.

If you want to be more objective, you can choose the Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS). Then you’d see examples like this:

  1. Keeps customers informed about new product updates.
  • Contacts customers once every quarter.
  • Notifies each consumer when there is an important product update.
  • Maintains connections with customers by keeping in touch on a regular basis and providing product updates.
  • Expects consumers’ future needs, informs them with regular updates, and assists them in resolving current concerns.
  • Manages the customer connection so that the client’s demands are addressed without requiring information from them. Has a thorough awareness of current and future consumer requirements.
  1. Discusses sales leads with the rest of the team:
  • Documents leads with written contact at least once a month.
  • Notifies employees about leads in their regions in a timely manner after receiving the lead. 
  • Collaborates with coworkers to approach possible leads.
  • Assists coworkers in developing handoff strategies to ensure that no leads are lost. 
  • Collaborates with colleagues in identifying, sharing, and developing leads so that everyone benefits.

As you can see, the BARS technique provides a more realistic evaluation of coworkers, but the questions must be tailored to the job. However, as we’ve already indicated, creating a BARS takes time and money.

What is Structured Observation?

Structured observation is a qualitative method of research that has widely been employed by social scientists. It’s a study method in which an event or series of occurrences is seen in its natural surroundings and recorded by a third party.

What is one of the most significant benefits of structured observation?

The structured study gives for collecting data (for example, the frequency of specific types of behavior) that are difficult to record using other approaches like surveys or interviews. In both laboratory and natural settings, structured observation is a good way to collect data. The implementation of this kind of observation in HR management helps define employees’ behavior and relations among themselves.

What advantages does structured observation have?

  • Makes data collection easier and more consistent.
  • Quantitative data is more likely to be produced, making it easy to analyze and compare.
  • Observer bias is less likely.

Effective modern performance appraisal methods

Behavioral observation scale

A periodical examination of an employee’s work performance and overall contribution to the company is called a performance appraisal.

Here are some performance appraisal approaches to try for your company.

1. Objective-oriented management

Management by objectives, or MBO, is one of the most used methods of employee evaluation. Managers and staff collaborate to develop and plan goals, as well as to conduct proactive progress checks. Although the method is sometimes more time-consuming and costly than traditional HRM performance review methods, it is very thorough and can help supervisors and employees create stronger, more favorable connections.

2. 360-degree feedback 

The 360-degree technique aids in the establishment of more regular, continual feedback for companies that do not believe that reviews should be done only once a year. This helps to keep people motivated and encourages more open communication. It also provides a more comprehensive kind of feedback, since employees assess managers, colleagues, customers, and vendors, as well as do a self-evaluation. This delivers a good amount of data for appropriate assessment and growth for enterprises.

3. Assessment center method

Employees are required to participate in situational activities such as workgroups, simulations, and role-playing exercises to ensure and quantify accomplishment in a role for this appraisal. This can happen at an evaluation center, as the name implies. This can reveal a lot about a person’s skills and personality, including flexibility, problem-solving, stress tolerance, business ethics, and so on. While it is frequently used during the initial recruiting and recruitment phase to assess fit with a role or a company culture, it can also be used to evaluate performance once employed and is an effective approach to determine the possibility for promotion, leadership, and other career moves.

4. Psychological appraisals

Behavioral Appraisal Methods

This isn’t a usual approach to evaluating employee performance, but it’s an intriguing and instructive one. It allows staff to assess an employee’s future performance potential, which may be extremely useful for defining goals and making promotion decisions. Psychological tests, including in-depth interviews, psychological evaluations, and other data collection procedures, are used in this method to gain a comprehensive understanding of an employee’s emotional, intellectual, and social characteristics. It’s a time-consuming process that frequently necessitates the help or supervision of a psychologist, but it can yield high-quality, insightful, and significant results.

5. A technique of accounting for human resources

At the end of the day, everyone in a company has a job to do and a cost. Is that person’s income sufficient to justify their position? Is their pay motivating them to have a significant impact on the company? This cost account approach evaluates an employee’s performance in terms of monetary value or revenue for a business. Finally, if an employee’s efforts are regarded to be financially sufficient by this assessment, their performance review will be good. Managers typically have to make strategic decisions regarding training, hiring, and other variables that affect the broader organization because of employees that rank lower on this method.

Bottom Line

As wage rises and monetary bonuses are frequently related to evaluations and employee reviews, it’s critical that employers establish a system that allows them to examine the information that’s most important and valuable to them as a company. Employees are often the most engaged and productive when they understand how their efforts are impacting the big picture or the bottom line. Find the performance appraisal approach that works best for your company and invest in it for the best business results – and happier, more productive staff.

Related topics:
7 Strategies to Cultivate Employee Engagement
Replacement Chart in HRM
Managing a Coworking Space

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