Employee Ranking Systems LO17530

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@compuserve.com)
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 22:41:51 -0500

Replying to LO17500 --


I think your perspective is the correct one in all this debate about
ranking and assessment. One can be successful without ranking/assessment
systems, and one can be successful with them. You point out --
insightfully, I might add -- that when objectives and purpose are unclear,
assessment systems do not work. I would expand that a bit, and say when
objectives and purpose are unclear, organizations do not work, whether
they have assessment systems or not. The critical aspect of successful
organizations, in other words, is clarity of purpose. Do you agree with
that, or do you have different experiences?

I agree with you that one can create high performing organizations without
assessment. I too have experienced that. On the other hand, as
organizations get larger, I am not sure this continues to be possible or
practical. What do you think?

I have two aspects of my assessment systems that I think are important.
One is that we do not intend to be objective. We are clear up front that
we use subjective judgement, and we are values-driven. Some people are
uncomfortable with this, but in my experience this is essential. The
second point, perhaps the most important, is that the prime purpose of the
assessment system is to learn, not to judge, not to declare someone a
success or a failure. As a consequence of learning, performance improves.

Personally, I find a well-executed assessment process to be an excellent
communications tool, an excellent learning tool, and an excellent tool to
create alignment in the organization. This third becomes important in
larger organizations.

I think your perspective is an accurate one.


Rol Fessenden

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