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Ethics in Employee Performance Evaluation

Evaluation of employee characteristics and performance is complex because it requires an unbiased approach to every candidate. Indeed, the HR management area involves various hidden ethical and legal issues. Therefore, managers should use universal criteria to assess potential and current workers to avoid giving an unfair advantage to less qualified applicants and devaluing experienced professionals (Chron Contributor, 2020). The article “Ethics in performance evaluation” presents possible solutions for managers to reduce bias and prevent violation of law and ethics. The objective of this essay is to summarize and reflect on this article that can be helpful for future HR managers.

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One of the contributors posted this article on an online newspaper website, Chron, on June 19, 2020, to raise an issue of workplace ethics in terms of hiring managers. The post commences with the statement that performance evaluation is subjective because managers may not utilize identical criteria for assessing employees for personal reasons (Chron Contributor, 2020). Thus, the author proposes four steps to minimize prejudice in the employment process because staff characteristics determine a company’s success.

The four steps to diminish subjectivity in performance rating by HR management are using uniform criteria, removing personal bias, eliminating relationship factors, and delaying evaluation. Firstly, the article suggests that introducing a ubiquitous numerical assessment matrix can effectively provide equal opportunities to all workers. Secondly, HR managers should strive to eliminate their personal feelings by accepting these prejudices, generating a self-awareness of potential bias (Chron Contributor, 2020). The third suggestion of the author is to remove the friendship factor because people tend to justify friends’ poor results.

Furthermore, according to the article, this “friendship factor” is dangerous because the employee “isn’t given constructive criticism that will help him improve his professional performance in the future” (Chron Contributor, 2020). The fourth step is deferring evaluation if the manager has a negative attitude towards a person being assessed. Finally, the author claims that interpersonal conflicts can violate workplace ethics and impede the hiring of experienced workers.

As I understood from the article, the problem of ethics at the workplace is an important topic. Indeed, bias is a strong demotivator for candidates with a strong background but no personal connections with the HR team or the history of a conflict unrelated to professional activity. Furthermore, preference for specific characteristics nonessential for work prevents an organization from recruiting effective members. Thus, HR management must develop a universal evaluation scheme to avoid ethical and legal issues related to employment discrimination (Chron Contributor, 2020). I realized the fact that this issue was raised in the article indicates the need for formulating standard assessment criteria. Moreover, it may suggest that some companies do not define professionalism and non-discrimination for their staff.

The most notable feature of this article was the suggestion to remove the friendship factor and negative bias. It was relatively new information for me to learn that such an element exists in HR management. The author of this article states, “letting friendships overshadow professional responsibilities is unethical” (Chron Contributor, 2020). Indeed, if the influence of personal feelings is unavoidable, it is reasonable to reassign evaluation to another member of the HR team. It will prevent violation of the Code of Ethics and subsequent legal consequences for the organization.

I agree with the author of this article because biased employment is harmful to a company, its employees, and the job market. First of all, these unethical practices are unfavorable for a firm because the staff recruitment process results in hiring not the strongest candidates. Secondly, it creates a dangerous habit for people who will always rely on their friends to retain their position in the company instead of putting effort into work. Thirdly, prejudices create an unhealthy environment of the entire job market, demonstrating that professional skills and knowledge are less valuable than connections. Although friendship is an essential element of human existence, performance evaluation should be unbiased to ensure that an organization hires the best workers.

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Overall, understanding this topic is crucial for my future career as an HR manager. However, I believe that knowledge is only an initial step toward becoming an unbiased and ethical interviewer because it requires an interminable amount of training and self-control. Although creating an excellent first impression is a candidate’s responsibility, HR managers should not be misguided by it, resulting in the loss of a strong worker or hiring an irresponsible employee.

Therefore, applying identical assessment criteria for current and future staff is essential to determine the fittest person for a specific role based on similar conditions. Moreover, if one’s friend or foe happens to be among the evaluated cohort for a job position, the manager should try to eliminate positive and negative feelings. Indeed, lack of emotions is an asset, in this case, because it prevents giving someone an unfair advantage or creating an obstacle for a disliked person. Finally, I think that practicing self-evaluation and control is as critical as understanding legal and ethical issues of performance assessment for any future member of the HR team.


Chron Contributor. (2020). Ethics in performance evaluation. Chron. Web.

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