Traditional methods are very old techniques of performance appraisal. They are discussed below.
(i) Unstructured Appraisal: Under this, the appraiser is required to write down his impression about the person being appraised in an unstructured way. However, in some organizations, comments are required to be grouped under specific headings, such as quality of job performance, reasons for specific job behavior, personality traits, and development needs. This system is highly subjective and has got its merit in its simplicity and is still in use, especially in small firms.
(ii) Ranking Method: This is the simplest of all methods. The appraisal consists of ranking employees as more or less efficient by interpersonal comparison of overall qualities. This method may be conveniently adopted if the number of employees is small and work performance is measurable. The ranking thus made involves subjective appraisal of employees without any common standards.
A variant of the ranking method is the paired-comparison method, in which employees are compared and ranked in pairs. Each employee is compared with the other employees in a group, one at a time. The results of these paired comparisons are tabulated and a rank is assigned to each employee.
(iii) Forced Distribution Method: The basic assumption made for using this method is that employees are distinguishable as outstanding, above average, average, below average, or poor; and their number conforms to a normal frequency distribution, e.g., 10% each in the highest and lowest categories, 20% each in the above-average and below-average categories, and 40% in the average category. The rater is required to distribute the employees in the five categories on the basis of their overall performance and attributes.
(iv) Graphic Rating Scales: This method is similar to the Rating- scale Method, except that the degrees of qualities or attributes on which employees are to be appraised are indicated on a graph or chart. The scale of attributes may be numerical-alphabetical or descriptive-adjective. Thus different degrees of an attribute may be stated as exceptional, above average, below average, or poor and assigned numbers as 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
(v) Check List: Employee appraisal under this method involves the listing of a number of statements about the performance and behavior of the employee and the rater checks these statements indicating whether a statement applies or does not apply to the employee or there is a doubt. Afterward, values (or weights) are assigned to the statements depending upon their respective importance. The final rating of the employee is taken as the average of the scale value of all statements that the rater has checked.
(vi) Critical Incident Method: This method involves employee appraisal on the basis of events or incidents and the employee’s reactions to them reflecting positive or negative aspects of his behavior. A continuous record of incidents is maintained by the supervisors and numerical scores are assigned according to the nature of employee’s reaction to the particular events.
(vii) Field Review Method: Under this method, the supervisors are interviewed by an expert from the personnel department. The expert questions the supervisors to obtain all the pertinent information on each employee and takes notes in his notebook. Thus, there is no rating form with factors or degrees, but overall ratings are obtained. The workers are usually classified into three categories: outstanding, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory.
The success of the Field Review method depends upon the competence of the interviewer. If he knows his job, he can contribute significantly to accurate appraisals. The field Review method relieves the supervisors of the tedious writing work of filling in appraisal forms. It also ensures a greater likelihood that the supervisors will give adequate attention to the appraisals because the personnel department largely controls the process. Superficial judgment can be eliminated if the appraiser probes deeply.