Performance Reviews – Is Moderation of Performance Scores Fair to Employees?

Performance Reviews – Is Moderation of Performance Scores Fair to Employees?

Performance reviews are used to generate comprehensive performance scores. Performance score moderation and adjustment is a process in which company managers come together to review and assist in changing performance scores (if necessary), agreed to between Manager and Employee in order to;

  • Ensure that managers across the organisation have evaluated their employees using the same standardized practice. This eliminates unfairness in the performance review process.
  • Eliminate the issue of one manager’s more lenient rating system versus another supervisor’s complex rating system.

The effect of these moderations commonly results in a score increase for some employees and may result in lesser scores for others, however, a majority of scores remain unchanged.

The problem for the employee comes in when their scores are lowered.

So, how is it unfair? We’ve unpacked the top 6 reasons why we believe so:


Top 6 reasons why Performance Scores Moderation is Unfair:

  1. Lower performance scores may negatively affect performance-linked incentives such as bonuses and salary increases.
  2. Employees are not involved in the moderation process and therefore have no opportunity to defend or explain their scores.
  3. In some instances, scores are moderated in order to create a normal distribution or bell curve. This assumes that you cannot have an entire business unit or organisation of top performers. This is untrue.
  4. Some unethical managers mis-use this moderation process to reduce the number of top performers so that the bonuses are distributed amongst fewer people.
  5. It means the performance contracts being used are too subjective if they need to be moderated.
  6. It discourages top performers who are the ones typically getting a lower moderation on their performance scores.

To conclude, a clear and well-communicated moderation policy and process should be in place to alleviate un-professional managers who unethically adjust the moderation process. Employees whose scores are moderated should be involved in the process. Lastly organisations should move away from subjective KPI’s and focus on more objective measures.


To read more about Performance management and Performance Reviews, visit one of our blogs: https://www.istratgo.co.za/blog/

Or request a free demo to see how you can optimise your performance management with our software: I deserve a demo

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