Rating Scale

The rating scale is the quantifiable measurement used in the performance management process to rate the performance of employees. It indicates employees’ level of achievements. The biggest benefit of the employee rating scale is that it allows for simple comparisons between employees and speeds up the appraisal process. Faster appraisals can allow organizations to solicit feedback from more people in one review.

Rating scales may be numeric (e.g., 3, 4, 5) or alphabetic (e.g., a, b, c), with numbers or letters corresponding to an adjective, such as “5 = excellent” or “c = satisfactory.” Rating scales also may be narrative. For example, one element on a scale may be “unacceptable performance,” described as “fails to meet basic requirements and objectives.” Scales that provide a positive message have become more popular. For example, a scale may include ratings such as “acceptable,” “effective” and “very effective.”

There are various types of rating scales. Five-level performance management scales are most commonly used, but employers may choose alternatives. One of the most commonly used rating scale is BARS (Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale).