Rank and Rate Your Employees: Part II
Ranking and rating often come into play during downsizing programs. For many companies, it’s the first time that they’ve used these tools. As a rule, they’ve done a poor job of developing benchmarks and they often act in a rushed, subjective, or ad hoc basis. For example, if you tried to identify the top five performers in your department (or the five most dispensable), without data to back up these assessments, you’re leaving yourself wide open to accusations of discrimination based on age, race, gender, or other criteria. That’s why it’s a good idea for employers to consult with legal and personnel experts during the downsizing process.
Once you have your rankings, focus on nurturing the top 20% of performers. Your company wouldn’t be around without them, so give them the support that they deserve. However, make sure that their performance is a balanced one. If their success is due to a 60, 70, or 80-hour workweek, it’s simply not sustainable. Under most circumstances, employees should get their jobs done in 40 hours, and managers within 50. Anything beyond that can destroy a culture, career, and company.
Put the bottom 20% of employees on a performance plan that’s so well designed that if they don’t live up to it, in a sense, they fire themselves.
Find out what’s going on when people move up or down in the rankings. What’s the reason for their sudden success or failure? How can you reward success and turn around failure?
There’s no good reason to avoid rating and ranking your employees. It’s your responsibility as a manager to put people in a position that gives them the opportunity to succeed. Get them involved in defining the process — and you’ll find that ranking and rating can work for your business.