The Folly of Assessing Workers On Results

Here’s a disruptive thought: “What if getting results and appraising people based on getting results are not the same? What if focusing on results is not even the best way to get them? What if it’s actually the worst?”

Vadim Liberman posed those questions to a DisruptHR audience, challenging the prevailing practice of assessing employees on outcomes; outcomes, he says, over which they frequently have little or even no control.

Focusing on results, he argues, is insidious: “It assumes that you are in total control of your accomplishments and your failures.”

Now a practice leader for The Starr Conspiracy, Liberman illustrated his point dismantling the popular SMART goal setting guide as a yardstick by which to assess employees.

“Attainable,” he says, “Sends the message ‘Go small or go home.’ Because employees can set easy targets and they’ll meet them. But guess what: They’ll perform at a lower level than people who set harder targets that they may not meet.”

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If managers don’t assess workers on the outcomes, then what do they do? Spend the next 5 minutes to find out.

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