Graphic Rating Scale - Meaning, Importance & Example

Published in Human Resources Terms by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: August 28, 2021

What is Graphic Rating Scale?

Graphic Rating Scale is a performance appraisal method in which an employee is rated against a list of traits or behaviours which are deemed important and relevant for effective employee performance and productivity. The rating scale helps employers to quantify the behaviours displayed by its employees.

Some of these behaviours might be:

• Quality of work

• Teamwork

• Sense of responsibility

• Ethics etc.

Ratings are usually on a scale of 1-5, 1 being Non-existent, 2 being Average, 3 being Good, 4 being Very Good and 5 being Excellent.

Importance of Graphic Rating Scale

Graphic Rating scale as technique is very effective in representing behaviours of employees in quantifiable and comparable formats. These ratings can be be compared across employees and stakeholders and can be used to benchmark and improve overall performance. Using this technique, a company can find the average performance ratings of the overall organization and benchmark them. 

This can be then used to formulate a plan on how to improve the scores of employees below the required benchmark. By improving the ratings of employees at lower ratings will overall push the average up and improve the benchmarks thereby continuously improving the productivity of the company.


Characteristics of a good Graphic Rating scale are:

• Performance evaluation measures against which an employee has to be rated must be well defined.

• Scales should be behaviourally based.

• Ambiguous behaviours definitions, such as loyalty, honesty etc. should be avoided

• Ratings should be relevant to the behaviour being measured. For example, to measure “English Speaking Skill” rates should be fluent, hesitant, and laboured instead of excellent, average and poor.

Example of a Graphic Rating Scale

How would you rate the individual in terms of quality of work, neatness and accuracy?

1. Non-Existent: Careless Worker. Tends to repeat similar mistakes

2. Average: Work is sometimes unsatisfactory due to untidiness

3. Good: Work is acceptable. Not many errors

4. Very Good: Reliable worker. Good quality of work. Checks work and observes.

5. Excellent: Work is of high quality. Errors are rare, if any. Little wasted effort.


• The method is easy to understand and is user friendly.

• Standardization of the comparison criteria’s

• Behaviours are quantified making appraisal system easier


• Judgemental error: Rating behaviours may or may not be accurate as the perception of behaviours might vary with judges

• Difficulty in rating: Rating against labels like excellent and poor is difficult at times even tricky as the scale does not exemplify the ideal behaviours required for a achieving a rating.

• Perception issues: Perception error like Halo effect, Recency effect, stereotyping etc. can cause incorrect rating.

• They are good at identifying the best and poorest of employees. However, it does not help while differentiating the average employees.

• Not effective in understanding the strengths of employees. Different employees have different strong characteristics and these might quantify to the same score.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Graphic Rating Scale along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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