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Employee Performance Appraisals August 5, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Managing Employees.

When I give  appraisals, they usually range from “mediocre” to “terminated”.  It takes a lot to impress me (usually another Sith lord).  If your organization isn’t teeming with over-achieving Sith, then you’ll have to accept mediocre employees and grade accordingly.  Like so many things, performance appraisals are another topic that has never ending complexity.

In any performance evaluation system, the key is to evaluate the right mix of values and weight them correctly.  If you only measure speed, quality will suffer.  If you only measure quality, speed will suffer.

Keep in mind another double-edged light saber.  If your metrics are too narrow/specific, employees will only focus on those items to achieve a great evaluation.  The metrics literally becomes the job definition, and that may be much too narrow in scope. It’s important to keep some metrics vague enough so this doesn’t become a problem.  On the other hand, if all metrics are too vague, employees won’t know what they are being evaluated on.

To illustrate:

Storm troopers need to bring in Jawas for interrogation.  Do we evaluate them on the sheer number of Jawas they bring in, or on the quality of the intelligence extracted from them?  Obviously it’s a combination of both.

Another Storm trooper evaluation may have the very narrow categories of: 1) Following orders, 2) Number of prisoners who escaped.

This may seem like an ok set of metrics to evaluate a guard on, but we don’t want them to think that is the only aspect of their jobs.  We don’t want narrow metrics to define the job.  We may also care about:  Initiative, efficiency, attendance record, prisoner health etc.

If it’s important to the organization, it should be in the performance evaluation.




1. Sith Sigma « Duncan’s blog - November 25, 2008

[…] example, here’s an excerpt from a post about Employee Performance Appraisals: Storm troopers need to bring in Jawas for interrogation. Do we evaluate them on the sheer number […]

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