What is a Performance Calibration Meeting and What is Expected from Managers

Jan 10, 2022
What is a Performance Calibration Meeting and What is Expected from Managers

“Corporate performance management systems and processes are gradually moving away from a static, unidirectional, and time-bound avatar to a more dynamic, continuous, and interactive state.”

Pearl Zhu

Have you ever wondered some managers are a bit generous towards certain employees during performance reviews? Well, you are not alone. Rating systems often come with an element of subjectivity.

Some work might look outstanding to one, while just average to others. So, how do you ensure a fair and balanced rating system? Enter performance calibration meeting.

Performance calibration meetings help businesses overcome challenges related to fairness and accuracy in employee performance evaluation.

This article looks at everything about a calibration meeting and the role of managers in the process.

What is a calibration meeting?

A Gallup survey has shown that only 29% of employees feel rating systems are fair. Furthermore, only 26% find that they are accurate. Another study from Gallup has shown that only 14% of employees agree that performance reviews motivate them to improve.

As a critical part of the employee performance management process, performance calibration helps overcome this problem. Managers can ensure that the performance appraisals they conduct are fair and accurate. It also assists businesses in retaining employees who are star performers.

The performance calibration process typically involves managers coming together to review the performance of their team members. They also need to reach an agreement with employees in terms of performance appraisal ratings.

The process ensures objective appraisal of the past performance of each employee concerning their job level. Managers also get to apply the same standards for evaluating the performance of every employee.

Is calibration meeting similar to talent calibration?

No. Both are unique as they have several distinguishing features. Performance calibration involves the analysis of performance during a particular period and has a link with employee compensation.

On the other hand, talent calibration focuses on the future and checks the available talent pool of organizations. Several factors come into play, like future talent needs, capabilities, and potential.

The two remain related in a way where performance calibration sets the foundation for efficient talent calibration.

Which stakeholders are involved in a performance calibration meeting?

Managers and supervisors who manage their direct reports are a crucial part of the process. It also involves employees managed by those managers and supervisors. A human resource leader or business partner acts as the facilitator.

The primary task for managers is to ensure that the process meets the desired goals and aligns with the company objectives. Based on the working model of an organization, the number of people involved in the process can differ.

Managers and supervisors involved in the process must belong to the same level in the organization. If there are multiple stakeholders in the meeting, the complexities could increase.

It can lead to stretching of the process. So, make sure you only have a manageable number of people in the process.

What should be the calibration meeting agenda?

The calibration meeting agenda gives managers the chance to discuss the achievements of their team members. Managers also stand a chance to gain insights from other managers. Here are some critical aspects of the agenda you need to consider.

  • Desired meeting outcomes: You must clearly specify the objectives you wish to achieve with your team members.
  • Importance of confidentiality: The meeting discussion and outcomes of the process should remain confidential. As a manager, you must make your team members aware of the confidentiality aspect.
  • Explaining the criteria: You must, in clear terms, explain the rating and scales used during the performance evaluation.
  • Identifying the performance trends: You should check the performance of your department and how it compares with the previous performance and desired result.
  • Linking performance with business results: You should check how the individual performances match with the results of the department.
  • Individual performance ratings: You should review the performance of your team members and rate them accurately.

What is expected from managers in a calibration meeting?

The performance appraisal process comes with several goals and objectives. One of the essential goals for managers is to identify and segregate top performers from the rest. They can further reward them based on their performance, which helps in talent retention.

Ratings given by managers based on competencies and other criteria make for critical data points that help in improving the decision-making process. Performance ratings also help managers in deciding the compensation and making the promotion decision. It further helps in the development of resource allocation and succession planning.

Here’s what managers must do in a calibration meeting.

  • Questions related to assumptions: Managers should leave no room for assumptions. They should ask employees questions related to their performance and assure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Justification of outliers: Managers should be able to justify the ratings they give to each employee. It is especially critical when they are rooting for better compensation or promotion of a certain employee.
  • Handling disagreements: Employees might still assume the process to be subjective no matter what. The manager must make them understand and resolve their disagreements.
  • Gauging of objectivity: Managers get to conduct the performance assessment objectively. They should thus have some supporting data that stands for their claims.

Benefits of performance calibration for organizations

Here are some of the critical benefits that organizations enjoy with performance calibration.

  • Makes organizations look fairer: The explanation of performance measurement and rating accuracy helps in improving the perception of employees. They will consider the process to be fair. It is absolutely essential that employees feel that the performance evaluation process is fair since the decision related to compensation and promotion remain linked to it. If employees believe they received unfair treatment, they can take legal recourse and sue the company.
  • Makes the performance rating more data-driven and avoid any unconscious biases: The performance calibration process helps improve the accuracy of ratings given by managers. A poor performance calibration can have several detrimental effects. High performers will leave the company, and some might even take legal action. So accurate and fair ratings assume a lot of significance. Managers can gain a better understanding of the performance of each employee and eliminate any scope for bias. Managers become more accountable to the company for their actions. If a company has recently witnessed any merger or acquisition, the performance calibration activity becomes much crucial. Different performance standards, benchmarks, and work cultures need careful alignment. When disparate processes get unified, it leads to objective and data-driven measurement of employee performance.
  • Explains performance standards: The performance calibration helps businesses reinforce the performance criteria for everyone. Managers need to justify the rating they give to each employee. The process aids the management in reaching a common conclusion in terms of performance expectations. It also gives managers the chance to have a better discussion with employees. They can create a development plan for employees to improve and progress ahead in their careers.

How to ensure a successful performance calibration process

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful outcome in performance calibration.

  • Communicate goals clearly: Managers should make employees understand the importance of their work and how it affects organizational objectives. Employees will also understand the parameters on which their performance will get evaluated.
  • Make the process transparent: The performance calibration process should have complete transparency. However, it is essential that employees maintain confidentiality and not discuss the process with anyone else.
  • Do not expect perfection: No process can be perfect. However, managers can remain accountable to everyone through well-defined evaluation criteria free from any subjectivity.
  • Include the right people :All the concerned stakeholders must be a part of the meeting. Make sure only relevant people are part of the process.
  • Make the environment conducive for healthy discussions: Each participant must feel confident about asking questions. Managers must also remain open to seeking advice from their peers regarding rating the performance of employees.
  • Use meeting insights for better decision-making: Managers stand to gain several insights about their team members. It will help them prepare their future course of action regarding improving the performance of each employee.

Bottom line

Calibration meetings are an effective tool to make performance reviews fair and transparent. An employee performance management software can further make calibration meetings successful for everyone. The use of the right technology helps organizations gain access to individual-level performance data. Managers can further add objectivity to their decisions by getting access to data.

Huminos brings to you a comprehensive calibration system that allows your managers to conduct performance reviews fairly and efficiently. If this sounds like the system you are interested in, get a FREE 14-day trial today.

About Huminos

Huminos is a comprehensive performance conversations platform that helps your employees to achieve impactful outcomes, even if they are working remotely. Features like OKRs, 1:1 conversations, feedbacks, reflections, and pulse allow you to plan and measure work that really matters to your company.

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