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Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale

What is Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale

Behaviorally Anchored Rating scale, as the name suggests is a measuring system that is used to rate employees or trainees according to their performance and specific behavioral patterns.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale Definition (BARS)

Behaviorally anchored rating scale is a measuring system which rates employees or trainees according to their performance and specific behavioral patterns.

BARS is designed to bring the benefits of both quantitative and qualitative data to the employee appraisal process as its mechanism combines the benefits of narratives, critical incidents, and quantified ratings.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale Steps

BARS is designed to bring the benefits of both qualitative and quantitative data to the employee appraisal process by comparing an individual’s performance against specific examples of behavior which are then categorized and appointed a numerical value used as the basis for rating performance.

The first step is to write CIT (Critical Incident Techniques) which compares an individual’s performance against specific examples of behavior that are tied to numerical ratings of 5 to 9.

Then the employer needs to develop performance dimensions which have to be rechecked. The next step involves scaling the critical incidents which lead to developing the final instrument.

BARS are developed using data that is collected through the critical incident technique, or through the use of comprehensive data about the tasks performed by a mandatory job, such as might be collected through a task analysis. The following steps, outlined are followed in order to construct BARS.

  1. Examples of effective and ineffective behavior related to job are collected from people with knowledge of the job using the critical incident technique. Alternatively, data may be collected through careful examination and contemplation of data obtained from a recent task analysis.
  2. This data that has been obtained is then converted into performance dimensions. To convert this data into performance dimensions, examples of behavior (such as critical incidents) are sorted into homogeneous groups using the Q-sort technique. Definitions for each group of behaviors are then written to define each grouping of behaviors as a performance dimension
  3. A group of subject matter experts (SMEs) are asked to re-translate the behavioral examples back into their respective performance dimensions. At this stage, the behaviors for which there is not a high level of agreement (often 50–75%) are discarded while the behaviors which were re-translated back into their respective performance dimensions with a high level of SME agreement are retained. The re-translation process helps to ensure that behaviors are readily identifiable with their respective performance dimensions.
  4. The retained behaviors are then scaled by having SMEs rate the effectiveness of each behavior. These ratings are usually done on a 5- to 9-point Likert-type scale.
  5. Behaviors with a low standard deviation (for example, less than 1.50) are retained while behaviors with a higher standard deviation are discarded. This step helps to ensure SME agreement about the rating of each behavior.
  6. Finally, behaviors for each performance dimension, all meeting re-translation, and criteria, will be used as scale anchors.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale for Interviews

There is no standard method for generating the content used to create interview BARS. Some of the methods that have been used include using answers heard by SMEs during job interviews from candidates who were actually hired having interviewers develop anchors from notes about responses to similar questions, brainstorming and speculation by SMEs, and having project staff draft a first version of the BARS and revising it after consulting with SMEs. BARS can be generated for questions tied to a critical incident analysis of a specific job or for preexisting interview questions. Because the anchors are tied closely to specific questions, they are usually not subjected to the retranslation process described in Step 3. A recent review of the employment interview literature well sums up the situation regarding BARS for evaluating interview performance: “Despite the importance of [B]ARSs to structured interviews, the science of rating scales is still surprisingly underresearched” 

Benefits of BARS

Behaviorally anchored rating scale can help improve an organization's performance because they:

• Are reliable as the appraisals remain the same even when different raters rate them.

• Have clear standards upon which an employee is appraised.

• Are very accurate in the appraisal method and therefore increase reliability.

• Give an objective feedback.

BARS ensure that the feedback is accurate and to the point. Performance evaluation is crucial to every organization. BARS help in doing it without much struggle. BARS are also used to understand customer behavior and to react with them accordingly. When you’re relying on unique, individual behaviors required for each individual position within an organization, instead of behaviors that can be evaluated in any position across the board, It has been observed that using a rating scale with specific behaviors for selected jobs, minimizes the subjectivity in using basic rating scales.

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