Managing disagreement with skip level manager during calibration

Calibration is a part of the performacne review process where managers, after completing the review of their teams, discuss the manager assessments with the skip-level manager.

Companies like Google, Facebook use committees made up of skip level managers of various teams and the business human resource partner.

Some companies let skip level manager and the manager to calbrate in a 1:1 meeting between them.

Managers should expect disagreement with their skip level managers during a calibration meeting. Some tips for the managers to effectively manage the differences are by:

  1. Documenting specific examples and concrete data supporting the behaviours and achievements
  2. Being conscious of own biases that can creep in during the performance review of your team members
  3. Understanding the broader context in which the skip level manager is revewing the individual employee's assessment
  4. Calling out any bias that your skip level manager is unconsciously resorting to.
  5. Keeping notes of the reasons for diasagreement by your skip level manager
  6. Emphasising that the purpose of calibration is same for both you and your skip level manager but the approach may differ
  7. Calling out any assumptions that went in deciding the ranking
  8. Writing down his own rating of individual team members
  9. Agree on the criteria for example - decide what "exceeds expecations" means.
  10. Keep a record of concrete examples over the entire performacne summary cycle to avoid the recency bias, halos and horns bias and availability bias.
  11. Consider the situational factors (workplace related) that affected performance e.g. lack of resources
  12. Playing devil's advocate especially for the employees the manager is rooting for.
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