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Common Biases in Performance Evaluations

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Mitigating Bias

Ways to interrupt bias
Seek input from others—peers, partners, and key collaborators.
Be prepared to share examples of strengths and areas for development for each individual.
To mitigate recency bias, regularly take notes on the individual’s performance and contributions, and review those notes before making your assessment.
Questions to ask
Are there differences in work style or approach between me and this person? If so, are they wrong or just different?
Am I using the same criteria and applying it consistently for people in similar roles? When I make an exception, what’s driving that?
Do I have specific examples to support my evaluation? Am I using data, when possible, to drive my decision making here?
Make sure to give everyone—or no one—the benefit of the doubt.
If you waive objective rules, do so consistently.
Don’t insist on likability, modesty, or deference from some but not others.
Don’t make assumptions about what mothers or fathers want or are able to do.
If you comment on “culture fit,” “executive presence,” or other vague concepts, start with a clear definition and keep track to ensure such concepts are applied consistently.
Give honest feedback to everyone who is evaluated—otherwise some groups won’t get notice of problems in time to correct them.

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