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Graphic Rating Scale Method - Advantages and Disadvantages

Graphic Rating Scale Method - Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the responsibilities of your human resource department is to conduct employee evaluations. Insights gathered from these data are useful identifiers of employee satisfaction and performance. 

One of the responsibilities of your human resource department is to conduct employee evaluations. Insights gathered from these data are useful identifiers of employee satisfaction and performance. 

Graphic rating scale methods are a useful tool for human resources managers to obtain quantitative data about employee attributes concerning a particular job description.

The graphic rating scale is a variant of the multiple-choice questionnaire but typically includes more detail. Questions are usually answered using a scale between 1-3, 1-5, 1-8, etc.

The graphic rating scale is one of the most popular appraisal methods and can be useful if used correctly. The method is user friendly and simpler compared to other methods such as 360-degree feedback and management by objective. 

However, you must be careful, as the information can be misleading and subjective. Let’s take a closure look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the graphic rating scale. 

Graphic Rating Scales Are a Useful Tool for Human Resource Managers

The Graphic rating scale is an effective appraisal method for assessing unique traits and behaviours within your workforce. 

They’re a useful tool for assessing employee attributes and how these relate to their current role. Furthermore, the gathered data can shed light on employee performance and engagement.

Graphic rating scales are also a useful tool for comparing employees against one another, assessing salary adjustments, and considering candidates for promotion.


Learn How to Construct an Effective Graphic Rating Scale for Optimal Results

This type of appraisal strategy can provide your human resource department with useful insights but it’s important to mitigate areas that are susceptible to interpretation.

The desired outcomes of your appraisal should be clearly defined from the beginning and every question should be tied directly to the job description.

Tips for an Effective Graphic Rating Scale

  • Make your questions as objective as possible. Avoid subjective questions like, “Does the employee seem excited about coming to work?”
  • Clearly define criteria and desired outcomes
  • Stick to behaviorally based questions
  • Switch ambiguous responses like “good” or “poor” to reflect the question. For example, a question like “Does the employee deliver work on time according to schedules?” should feature answers such as “Usually late”, and “Mostly on schedule”.

By implementing these basic techniques, you can improve your chances of receiving more enlightening data.

Different Ways of Structuring a Question: Discreet Scales and Continuous Scales [With Examples]

Depending on the question, you might want your questions to be answered in different ways. Both scale types feature the Linkert Scale format, where respondents are asked to answer using a scale system.

There are two main question formats: discreet scales and continuous scales.

Discreet Scales

A discreet scale uses specified responses, typically ranked from 1-3, 1-5, etc. Each ranking will be assigned a particular statement. Let’s look at an example:


Continuous Scales

Continuos scales are slightly different. Here, a question is asked, and the manager must rank the subject upon the scale. Usually, two values are given at each end of the scale. For example:


The Disadvantages of a Graphic Rating Scale

Graphic rating scales are a great place to start for assessing your overall workforce environment. 

The information gathered here can provide invaluable data for assessing future appraisals. Furthermore, graphic rating scales are easy to set up and extremely user-friendly. They are also time and cost-effective for your HR department.

However, there are also drawbacks to this system and you should be careful not to draw firm conclusions from this data alone.

Responses Are Open To Interpretation

Regardless of how the questions are labelled, there is no way of ensuring that any conclusions are immune to interpretation.

Everybody has different perceptions of what’s “good” and what’s “bad”. Where one manager might consider a particular rating satisfactory, another might deem it unacceptable.

Final Scores Can Be Deceiving

Once the scores have been added up, each employee is given a final score. The issue with this is that the final score does not always accurately represent the data.

An employee who scores ‘average’ across all questions might quantify to the same final score as somebody who consistently scored at the ‘extreme’ end of the scale. Does this mean that the employees need to make similar changes or improvements? Almost certainly not.

‘Average’ Results Can Be Difficult to Interperate

The difficulty with Graphic Rating Scales is that they tend to highlight the ‘exceptional’ members of your workforce, as employees that fall in the ‘average’ category can be lost amongst the noise. 

No doubt your workforce possess areas in which they are stronger and areas in which they are weaker. It’s unlikely an employee will score highly in every area, so more often than not you’ll find yourself staring at a bunch of ‘middle data’, struggling to make sense of it.

Recent Events Can Influence Answers

A member of your workforce that recently made a mistake for the first time might be subject to harsher critique than an employee that made a mistake multiple times in the past.

This is not because managers are intentionally punishing the employee who recently made a mistake. Rather, it is a simple psychological effect. An event that happened more recently bares more weight than multiple events that occurred in the past.

The Best Way To Appraise Your Workforce Is By Conducting Regular and Consistent Employee Evaluations

It’s no good conducting performance appraisals of your workforce without well-defined goals. A specific workflow should be followed to maximise the potential of your performance evaluation.

A workflow management software such as AhoyTeam, helps your human resource department to schedule automated workflows. Automated workflows are the best way to manage and track business processes to ensure consistency.

By automating repeatable tasks such as performance appraisal, you can use time more effectively, saving departments valuable time and money.


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