Employee Ranking Systems LO16679

Robert Bacal (rbacal@escape.ca)
Sun, 25 Jan 1998 23:18:38 +0000

Replying to LO16673 --

On 25 Jan 98 at 12:38, Michael A. Gort wrote:

> Let me add an additional thought. Individuals are capable of different
> levels of productivity, insight, creativity and innovation. If a company
> truly values productivity, insight, creativity and innovation, then it
> must find some way of ranking the members for compensation, promotion and
> job assignment.

I don't believe that's accurate or effective. First, doesn't it make sense
to reward people on the basis of their contribution to the company
(however that's defined, and let's put aside team rewards,etc)?

Ranking has nothing to do with contribution...it has to do with RELATIVE
contribution. What do we do if we have 7 staff members who are all, in
their own ways, contributing to the welfare of the company, almost
equally. Using ranking we would have to distinguish among their
performances based on miniscule differences..so we might pay someone who
is 1% better than the worst person more money, and penalize the person at
the bottom.

IF we could measure contributions objectively and completely validly, then
one could make a case. However, we can't. So unless we have HUGE
differences among people, ranking is simply unfair, and creates more
hostility than good.

Micheal, let's say you and I are both excellent employees. And so are our
colleagues. But SOMEONE has to be penalized. Ranking does that because it
forces a distribution where one doesn't fit.

For example, Bill gates has been quoted as saying that
> the very best programmer can be far more productive than the mean. Maybe
> as much as 100 times more productive. Further, the weakest programmers
> will bring down the productivity of a team by more than they contribute.
> Now, it seems that best practices would involve determing who are both
> standouts and not satisfactory. Remove the unsatisfactory from a team,
> and if appropriate, enroll them in remedial training programs. In the
> meantime, the team should channel the most important, most interesting
> features to the standout programmers.

Again, it's relative through ranking. I want the best. The way to do that
is to set expectations. If everyone achieves them, everyone benefits. If
some don't, they don't. If they don't badly enough, they are gone, even if
everyone else is lousy.

Robert Bacal, Inst.For Cooperative Communication, rbacal@escape.ca
Visit our Resource Centre for articles on mgmt.,training,communication, and defusing hostility
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