|Unfortunately, you need to give yourself a low rating on the steps you took last year. It would have been more productive to hold off evaluating your employees until you had a real handle on their performance, and then given them the ratings they deserved. If there were raises involved, they could have been handled retroactively. |
At this point, it will be important to have a high degree of internal consistency in your ratings. If your entire rating scale dropped the same amount, there should be no problem. The best employees will still be getting the highest ratings on your scaled-down scale, and less productive employees will receive proportionately lower ratings.
You should meet with your employees, let them know what your ratings now mean, and let them see the consistency and fairness associated with your standards. If they are concerned about the appearance of a drop in their performance, you could add a note in their reviews indicating that the scale was revised after your first year of employment. In addition, if you are equitable in granting raises associated with your new rating scale, you will also find that money talks.