Measuring Employee Performance Tells as Much about the System as It Does the Employee

By Michelle Malay Carter on February 19, 2010 

Three factors that influence employee performanceIn addition to old-fashioned happenstance, there are three main areas of influence over one’s performance within an organization:

Three Areas of Influence over Employee Performance

1. The first is the person’s capability profile which is composed of
a) knowledge, skills and experience,
b) values, temperament and inhibitors, as well as
c) current cognitive capacity.

2. The second is the employee’s manager’s capability profile, composed of the aforementioned items.

3. The third is the system!? i.e. Organizational processes, policies, structure or lack thereof.

Measuring Performance Only Tells a Piece of the Story
This is why we must judge employee effectiveness in light of circumstances.? Measuring performance only is patently unfair, as it never tells the whole story.? When you measure performance, you are also measuring the system within which the employee is working.? Designing the system is executive level work.?

Engage the System to Engage the Employees
Don’t forget.? Without fairness, you will not have engagement.? If you want engagement, stop trying fix your employees and take a look at your system.

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Accountability, Corporate Values, Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Organization Design, Requisite Organization


3 Responses to “Measuring Employee Performance Tells as Much about the System as It Does the Employee”

  1. Norman Patnode on February 20th, 2010 9:37 pm


    Curious if you’re familiar with David Langford? He’s been trying to help teachers, principals, and administrators understand that measuring student performance should be viewed over a period of several years, and used as a way to assess the education “system,” and the effectiveness of any changes made to that system.

    All the best,

  2. Michelle Malay Carter on February 21st, 2010 1:01 pm

    Hi Norman,

    Thanks for stopping by. No, I am not familiar with David Langford, but it sounds as if he is advocating as I am. I’ll have to check out some of his work. Thanks for the comment.



  3. Gina on September 16th, 2010 2:38 pm

    So True. All it takes is a new way of evaluating 1 process or employee to be able to see where the biggest flaws in the system are. I have seen entire systems be re-worked and formulated all because 1 employee’s work hours pointed out that something was out of balance.