I am not a manager and I am wondering what you thought about the following situation.

Background: the team I am on is about small team less than 14 members. We are basically engineers but we deal with customers and do a wide range of tasks.  Generally speaking we all have our own specialties that we work on the most.

My manager is trying to design an algorithm that would result in a score for each employee.  I disagree with this scoring system on many levels, and I want to hear your thoughts to see if I am thinking about this in the wrong way.

First, every employee is different and has different goals.  I aspire to lead, where as others on my team aspire to be better coders, and others just love to solve difficult problems.  I cannot imagine any scoring system that would do justice for each employee.  It would only seem that the scoring would single out those who do not have goals directly aligned with how the scoring system works.

Second, generally speaking what are the purposes of such “report cards”? I understand everyone has their good points and parts they need to improve.  But how is a system with a number out of one hundred (or a letter system) going to help the employee more than directly recognizing the employee’s strengths and devising plans to improve his or her weaknesses?

Third, will the positive outweigh the negative?  I can only imagine a poor score on a report card is exactly the same as sitting in a one-on-one and only having your boss discuss your negative. 

So what are your thoughts?  Can I look at this in another way or do you agree with me?


ChrisBakerPM's picture

Rioku- possibly you are taking this scoring system far too seriously? I know I did at an earlier stage of my career when my employer was introducing performance-related pay and I got very agitated in a high-C way about the basis for assessing this. Understandable - engineers are well used to thinking about algorithms and circumstances under which they might yield artifactual results. Oh yes, and we all played games early on and instinctively think about how to game the system...

Most managers, I think, will have the common sense to reject or tweak the algorithm if it is about to lead to some silly result.  Perhaps you manager only intends the algorithm to help remind him or her to take a wide-ranging look at the team's strengths, rather than just to see the strengths that are most obvious to him/her? If your manager truly intends to manage the team solely by applying a half-baked algorithm, he or she is a nut and you probably want to think about donating your talents to another team led by someone more sensible? But quite likely it is not like that...

Perhaps you have an opportunity here to talk to your manager about your career goals? Can you talk to you manager about your leadership aspirations, and how they might be missed by some kinds of algorithm? Ask for these to be taken into consideration, and also to get feedback about anything you should be giving attention to help you to realize your aspirations? Try to get the conversation onto the needs of your organization and of yourself, rather than how to capture this by weightings in an algorithm (or whether an algorithm is a good idea....). You may learn useful stuff!

If you manager is good at the job he or she should also very much welcome knowing that this algorithm idea is causing stress & needs to be explained better (or abandoned, or changed approprately ). But do recall that some mangers don't have the engineer's view of algorithms & their applications  & so may fail to see why this seems so threatening (you might want to check out some Manger Tools stuff about the DISC profile, see where you manager lies on it & decide how best to explain how you feel)

Gosh, I have just written ADVICE! Which means I should repeat the wise advice my Mother gave me when my first child was born "I have one piece of advice - don't pay attention to any advice, unless you think it makes sense."