Behavioral approach of measuring performance of employees

There are various methods which organisations adopt to measure employee performance such as:

  • comparative approach,
  • attribute approach,
  • behavioural approach,
  • result approach and
  • quality approach.

Behavioural approach is the most commonly adopted approach and comprises of vertical scales which are based on certain parameters. Organisations use following techniques to measure employee performance:

  • Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)
  • Behavioral Observation Scale (BOS)

The BARS technique contains five to ten scales which are based on parameters that are mutually agreed upon by the employees. The BOS  technique on the other hand is an improved version of the BARS technique and has its own advantages vis a vis the latter. This technique provides more specific data on employee performance, thus resulting in a better measure of his or her performance. The average of all the frequencies of data is taken as a result for that particular parameter. This technique is more reliable and accurate than BARS technique (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Features of behavioral approach

Behavioural approach has many features which is the reason it is most commonly used to assess performance of  employees. Foremost reason being that it makes them understand their employees, their behaviour and their working pattern which is the most important part of performance assessment. This approach monitors various parameters such as employee satisfaction, turnover rate, span of control, etc.

Behavioural approach automatically links performance with achievement of goals, conflict of interest, control and reward. Thus, it helps make management make decisions and monitor organisational goals easier. Because of its reliability and accuracy, proper performance appraisal result in employee satisfaction which in-turn affects growth of the organization. Performance appraisals also motivate  employees to perform even better in future. Hence, this approach plays a critical role in the process of performance measurement, reward and motivation (Schiehll & Morissette, 2000).

The behaviour of employees can be assessed either in groups or as an individual. When the behaviour of employees is assessed in groups, it is known as group behaviour approach, while interpersonal behaviour approach is used to assess individuals.

Advantages of behavioural approach

As discussed above, behavioral approach is reliable and accurate, and that is  why it is the most commonly used approach in the industry for performance evaluation of employees. This approach helps managers to understand their employees in a better way by keeping a record of their employees. Understanding employee behavior leads to easy communication between workers and the management.

Here, the focus is on an individual’s psychology, human relations, motivation and leadership which are major factors in a good organisation. Companies paying  attention to these factors have envious growth levels, which makes this approach highly acceptable in the industry. Also, increased productivity results in lower expenses for the company. It also creates transparency and confidence among  employees.

Since, the evaluators and managers can give specific guidance and feedback to the employees about their performance and behaviour, the performance level of employees in the organisation increases substantially. This also results in efficiency and consistency in the performance of employees (Koontz & Weihrich, 2008).

Limitations of behavioral approach

There are some limitations to this approach and the challenges which evaluators and managers face while using this approach to assess employee performance.

One of the major limitations of this approach is bigger staff force means large amounts of data but there are not many managers to evaluate the employees. Thus, there is a lot of information which they need to remember and process in order to evaluate the employees successfully in an un-biased manner. But the results are sometimes skewed result because managers may remember only performance related data, ignoring other facts (Sarieddine, 2014).

When managers give specific feedback  to help employees perform better, they sometimes ignore planning which reduces their efficiency. Thus, data collected should be used properly and measures taken to maintain confidentiality (Moynihan, Lavertu & Glenn, 2011).

Need closer integration for effective organisational performance

Behavioral approach is one of the most accurate approach to performance assessment. For the behavioral approach to be effective, organisation needs to integrate it with management concepts, principles, theory and techniques. There is also a need for closer integration with the organisation structure design, staffing, planning and controlling which are usually ignored when using this approach. If the organisation keeps its employees well motivated, skilled and ensure healthy work environment, they can all work together to achieve good performances.


Indra Giri

Senior Analyst at Project Guru
He completed his Masters in Development Economics from South Asian University, New Delhi. His areas of interest includes various socio development issues like poverty, inequality and unemployment in South Asia. Apart from writing for Project Guru he loves to travel and play football in his spare time.
Indra Giri

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