2.0 ratings for employees : it’s not that simple

Andrew Mc Afee wrote two interesing posts on the need for using 2.0 ratings for employees ( here and there).This kind of concern seems to be more and more actual for companies (I wrote about it there) and it confirms the accuracy of the old adage “tell me how you’re assessed, I’ll tell you how you work”. However putting thoses principles at work and build an assessment system relying on employee’s activity on enterprise social platforms (ESSP) can be more harmful than healthy.

McAfee proposes a multidimensional scale to score people’s participation, see who are the most active and distinguish according to their behaviros (creators, in reaction, raters…). A priori useful. But what for ?

Let me remind you that evaluation has to take into account what we want people to do and the way we them to do on pain to build a system relying on paradoxical injunctions that will cause a loss of sense.

Example : I want you to collaborate on the platform. But as a sales people you’re in competition with your colleagues. Be sure people will focus on the second propostion and get rid of the platform because they will favor what makes sense for them, what they are asked to on a contractual basis. And if one makes sense and the other is what he’ll be evaluated on, be sur he’ll get lost, doubt, and become less efficient.

Consequence : before evaluating anything else than individual performance, a strict alignement has to be set up between employees’ objectives and the way they’re asked to work. Then, and onlu then, it will be possible how objectives are rached and pilot how the platform is used according to stats and people’s acticity in order to undersant why it’s used or not, why it’s used for and try to correlate this with operative results. In two word : evaluation is made through people’s performance and management is made through the plateform’s activity which make it possible to assess who’s got the right attitude and who doesn’t.

In fact it’s harder. Imagine a person who reaches its personnal objectives without being socially active. What to thinj about it ? That social pratices haven’t been implemented in business processes ? Why not. We can also think his individual performance was realized to the detriment of the group (local maximum vs global optimum) and that the evaluation system has failed. Example : an employee’s performance is 100 which is very well. His colleagues performance are 50 or 60. On a global scale, it would the necessary to ask him to take a little time to help the others increasing their performance even if it implies his would drop to 80. As Bob Sutton wrote in “The Knowing Doing Gap”, a salesman whose outperforms his colleagues is not a chance but a danger if he doesn’t go into service with them. It’s often the symptom that shows that a person plays for himself and, at the end, against his company.

Some people may also start participating all over the place without bringing anything valuable to the others. Making noise to show they participate and quickly go back to the old good methods.

Whatever, getting a good evaluation for one’s activity on an ESSP doesn’t mean nothing in terms of business performance which remains the final and only goal.

So, how to make all these things coherent ?

Let’s consider, for instance, a sales team because it gathers all the characteristics of the perfect case study : they’re in front of the client, bring the money into the comany, need to use more and more information, need more and more expertise, it would be helpful for them to network with technical experts and pre-sales people, sometimes lawyers, sharing best practices is would be key for them.

• Presupposition : they have a lot to win if they work together and, anyway, viewed from the enterprise level, it favors global optimum without falling in the local maximum trap. Of course, who doesn’t agree with this assertion can stop his reading at this point.

• 1st consequence : turn them into partners instead of competitors. A part of their evaluation is linked to their individual performance, another part to the team’s performance in order they wouldn’t fear losing anything giving time and help one to another. Of course it impacts their remuneration.

• Then implement the “good practices” suitable processes, good reflexes, that will be as easily accepted than it will make sense regarding to the way they’re being evaluated.

• In order to make all of that possible, provide them with an ESSP platform.

• People’s activity in the platform helps to understand why we can observe (or not) any improvement of the global performance and makes it easier to explain both individual and group performance. It makes possible to have an objective view of everyone’s behavior, who plays the game and who plays against the team. Here, the evaluation helps to manage the “how to”. It can impact the remuneration or not…there are sensible pros and cons on this point.

Notice than, in a perfect world, the only fact of having the right evaluation mode may drive practices enough that evaluation the activity on the platform would be useless.

To stick to this note purpose, evaluating people activity on 2.0 platforms makes no sense if it’s not a part of a global system taking intop account all the things that impact final value creation. The lack of comprehension of the enterprise’s goal for a 2.0 focus causes this kind of unseemliness, making the use of tools an objective although it’s only a mean.

As a conclusion, in order to evaluate a 2.0 project, three indicators levels are needed :

• business indicators aligned on the goal :  turnover, sales cycle lenght, innovation cycle lenght…balanced scorecard indicators are often a good choice.

• relevance indicators : more qualitative, in order to make sure the employee generated content can help to reach business purpose.

• activity indicators : before evaluating relevance, content must be generated first !

Trying to evaluate both these things from the start is useless since each step needs the previous to be completed before producing something valuable : activity first, then relevance, then business that logically comes at the end of the chain.

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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