Employee Ranking Systems LO16682

Ben Compton (BCompton@dws.net)
Mon, 26 Jan 1998 09:17:14 -0500

Replying to LO16661 --

Dick Webster writes:

>>The reason for ranking employees is to 1) determine the value of each
>>employee, 2) create competition between employees. Both of these are
>>critical to the long-term success of any business.

> Agree - IF the right things get measured and the measurements are applied
> in useful ways to help motivate individuals and work groups. The large
> majority of comments on this thread are that they are not used in these
> positive ways.

If the wrong things are being measured it is reflective of: a) lack of
philosophical insight on the part of management, b) laziness on the part
of management, c) incompetence on the part of management, d) managers
failure to understand their business and how to remain competitive in that

I would agree that the one of the nagging problems of business is
ineffective (OK, ridiculous) measurements dictated by management. The
great companies know what to measure, and how to reward those who
competent and productive enough to perform well by th ose standards.

>>If a business doesn't know who the most valuable employees are, how are
>>they to reward people based on performance? And if employees aren't
>>rewarded for their performance, then what are they rewarded for? Rewarding
>>people based on subjective criteria increases the risk that a business
>>will behave in unethical ways (I define unethical, in this context, as
>>rewarding someone for something they have not done). Furthermore, if
>>employees aren't ranked how are they to know if they need to improve their
>>skills or increase their knowledge so they can become more valuable to the

> Again, agree, IF the evaluation is done for purposes of encouraging
> learning and performance improvement. Ranking, especially within work
> groups, is unlikely to contribute to these desirable objectives.

What other purpose could an evaluation possibly have? Why would ranking
employees prevent learning and performance improvement?

>>As employees compete for the value they give their employer the business
>>as a whole increases it's competitiveness. What better way to encourage
>>learning than
>>to have people compete with one another based on their knowledge and

>>Competition is a natural principle that has universal application. Instead
>>of fighting it, why not leverage it?

> Once again: our education system is in BIG trouble. One reason is the
> competition among students for grades. Those in doubt may learn from:

Dick, I'm trying to grasp the last sentence. A couple of things jump out
at me that lead me to believe that competition is good instead of bad.
First, the economic success of the US has been driven by competition.
Second, the economic failure of the former Soviet Union was created by the
lack of competition. Third, my observation of nature is that inequality in
ability is met with the equality of opportunity. The only way to benefit
from an opportunity is to increase my own skills such that I can compete
for that opportunity with those who might have more ability at the outset.
In such a scenario, competition elevates man, it does not demean him.

Benjamin Compton
DWS Computer Consultants
"The GroupWise Integration Experts"
E-Mail: bcompton@emailsolutions.com

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