Evaluating Employees

June 10th 2016

The traditional way of evaluating employees — based on things like results, metrics, and impact — is just another manifestation of easy-to-measuritis. We want objective, binary ways of evaluating people so that they are uncontroversial and unassailable, but what we end up with are objective, binary ways to measure the wrong things, or at the very least, things that employees are not in direct control of.

It's murky waters all the way down when it comes to measuring people. But Mike's argument is strong: measuring a person against metrics is lazy and and can end up hurting the best people.

Embracing subjectivity isn't easy. It becomes more about dialogue and thoughtful analysis than numbers and dashboards. And when you have multiple people on multiple layers of an org, there's so much room for things to get messy. I've really enjoyed Mike's thinking on this subject; trying to understand how to identify strong designers without metrics is a challenging mental and interpersonal exercise. But that challenge feels worthwhile.

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