Performance Appraisal Tutorial | Traditional Methods

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Traditional Methods of Performance Appraisal

Numerous methods have been devised to measure the quantitative and qualitative aspects of performance appraisals. Each of the methods is effective to some extent for some organizations only. However none should be disregarded or completely accepted as appropriate except as they relate to the particular needs of the organization or an employee. Broadly all methods of appraisals can be divided into two different categories.

  • Traditional Methods – Have been tried and tested in the past.
  • Modern Methods – Gaining momentum in the recent times.

Traditional Methods

  • Rating Scales: Rating scales consists of several numerical values representing performance criterions such as dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc. Each scales ranges from excellent to poor.
  • Straight Ranking Methods: This is one of the oldest and simplest techniques of performance appraisal. The appraiser ranks the employees from the best to the poorest on the basis of their overall performance.
  • Checklist: A checklist of statements of the traits of an employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or checking. HR department does the actual evaluation.
  • Forced Choice Method: It is a series of statements arranged in the blocks of two or more are given and the rater indicates which statement is true or false. The rater is forced to make a choice. HR department does the actual assessment.
  • Forced Allocation Method: The evaluator is asked to classify the employees on the basis of some fixed categories of ratings like on a normal distribution curve to eliminate the element of bias from the rater’s ratings.
  • Critical Incidents Method: The evaluator rates the employee on the basis of critical events and how the employee behaved during those incidents. It includes both negative and positive points.
  • Field Review Method: In this method, a senior member of the HR department or an external officer discusses and interviews the supervisors to evaluate and rate their respective subordinates.
  • Tests & Observations of Performance: This is based on the test of knowledge or skills. The tests may be written or an actual presentation of skills. Tests must be reliable and validated to be useful.
  • Confidential Records: Mostly used by government departments, however its application in industry is not ruled out. Here the report is given in the form of Annual Confidentiality Report (ACR).
  • Essay Method: This traditional form of appraisal is also known as “Free Form method”. It involves a description of the performance of an employee by his superior.
  • Method of Comparative Evaluation (Ranking & Paired Comparisons): A better technique of comparison than the straight ranking method, this method compares each employee with all others in the group, one at a time.


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