Thursday, January 12, 2017

Subjectivity in Performance Evaluations

Often, workplace advice is too pat. For example, "Have measurable goals."
Fact is, quality is difficult to quantify. Can we quantify a psychotherapist’s performance? A musician’s? A writer’s?

In fact, if we attempt to quantify quality, we likely reduce our judgments' validity.  To reduce an employee’s performance to a number is, well, reductionistic. 

That’s true even of the ostensibly quantifiable jobs such as sales. Whether or not a salesperson meets the quota tells only part of the story. To what extent did the salesperson omit details about the product that might have appropriately led the customer to choose a competitor’s product? To what extent did the salesperson spend time helping the customer even though it didn't directly result in more sales? Don't those things count?

My article today presents a dialogue that dramatically addresses the issue of subjectivity in the workplace. Its goal is not to provide a pat answer because none is possible but hopefully to add nuance to your dealing with subjective decisions and to increase empathy for the person on the other side of the table.

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