Small Business Glossary and Definitions

What is Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)?

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) are utilized to evaluate employee performance. They usually are displayed vertically on a five- to nine-point Likert scale. They seek to merge the advantages of quantified ratings, narratives and critical incidents. The idea is to develop more accurate assessments of a person’s performance or behavior.

BARS are created first by gathering examples of ineffective and effective behavior relevant to the job, which then are made into performance dimensions. Then those behaviors with less standard deviation from the mean are kept, while those with more standard deviation from the mean are thrown out.

BARS were created because of dissatisfaction with the subjectivity of traditional rating scales. BARS can be created using critical incident data or comprehensive data regarding the employee’s tasks.