Are male crew members provided with more specific, detailed and useful feedback than their female counterparts are?
Recent research suggests that the evaluations offered to women are often more vague than those given to men. Researchers with Stanford University analyzed actual performance reviews of male and female employees and found some big differences.
For instance, 57% of women received vague feedback such as “you’re a real asset to the team,” while only 43% of men were given vague assessments. In contrast, male employees were more likely to be called game changers, innovators and visionaries.
Keep in mind, of course, that women who think they’re receiving gender-biased assessments are more likely to sue for unlawful bias.
Here’s one way you can decrease the chance that your female crew members will receive gender-biased evaluations: Identify specific business or product outcomes for each employee, then communicate those outcomes to both men and women as often as you can.
For instance, if your department increased output by 30% this year, let everyone on your team – male and female – know about it.
Researchers also learned that women are more likely to receive vague praise than are men. So a woman might be told “good job,” but she’s not entirely sure what she did to warrant the compliment, and it doesn’t provide her with much guidance on how to improve. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to receive specific praise: “Your contribution to the project was a big factor in helping us land that contract.”
What to do: When you’re complimenting a woman on a job well done, be as specific as possible. Tell her exactly what she did and why it mattered. That way, the female staffer will have a solid understanding of your expectations for her.
(From the Nov. 5, 2021, issue of HR Manager’s Legal Alert for Supervisors. To start your no obligation trail subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)