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Calibration Committees Lead to Better Performance Assessments


Deploying calibration committees is an effective way to mitigate bias in performance assessments.

This is one of several substantive findings in “Contemporary Performance Evaluation Practices Survey,” conducted by WorldatWork in partnership with researchers at Tulane University, that sheds light on the current state of performance evaluation processes. The 254 compensation professionals surveyed are WorldatWork members who primarily work for companies with revenues greater than $100 million.

According to the study, 43% of companies surveyed use calibration committees, and most of them have done so for more than four years. At these companies:

  • Employees generally know the identity of calibration committee members.
  • 78% said calibration committees are effective at mitigating bias in performance assessments.
  • 82% said calibration committees are effective at increasing consistency in performance assessments across supervisors.
  • 74% said calibration committees are effective at increasing perceptions of fairness in performance assessments.

“Take a look at today’s headlines or business publications and you’ll read that, around the globe, pay equity and overall perceptions of fairness around how rewards are given to employees are among the biggest issues facing companies in every industry,” said Scott Cawood, WorldatWork President and CEO. “This is a very complicated and nuanced issue, and this survey delivers one remedy for those assessing performance: calibration committees. They are an effective tool to improve perceptions of fairness, increase transparency and limit bias.” 

Other survey results address employee satisfaction regarding performance evaluation processes, bonus pools and alternative raters:

  • Fewer than half of respondents indicate they are satisfied with their company’s performance evaluation process. Most organizations indicated that the effectiveness of their performance evaluation process could be improved.
  • Among organizations that use bonuses, 68% use a bonus pool (e.g., a pre-determined pool of money to be distributed among employees based on their performance).
  • 48% of organizations use alternative raters, individuals who provide formal feedback about an employee’s performance other than the employee’s direct supervisor. Alternative raters are generally not exclusively selected by supervisors.

Read more: Performance Evaluation Practices Missing the Mark

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