Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rank Your Employees?

Several studies have shown that publicizing employee performance reduces overall results. Allowing individuals to see their own results spurs them on towards improvement. However, if they know they're at the bottom of the heap, they get demoralized. If they know they're at the top, they don't try any harder.

This is an effect similar to GE's ill-fated policy of removing the poorest 10 percent of performers. As long as you work 'just hard enough' to be in the 11th percentile, you're safe. You don't have to outrun the bear; you only need to outrun the other person who could get devoured. Others have shown that competition reduces performance; collaboration improves performance.

If you show comparison rankings, stop. You're killing collaboration. You're increasing internal competition which can lead to conscious or subconscious sabotage. Very few want to help their enemies (unless they're a Giver, according to Adam Grant). (Givers help others without expecting anything in return; Matchers practice quid pro quo, while Takers operate under a win-lose attitude and often you lose.) If you publish comparisons, you're promoting Takers, who quash any rising tide carrying all boats. Instead your organization is distracted with Takers and Matchers trying to sabotage the Takers (Takers won't let other Takers get ahead.) In fact, Adam Grant's research has found that those who help others make up the largest percentage of bottom performers, but they also are a larger percentage of the top performers. If you want to succeed, fill your organization with Givers. Find the Takers and help them find jobs with your competitors.

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