Saturday, March 7, 2015

Performance Reviews and Collaboration

A few updates from from the peanut gallery.

Parents United Leg Update
Ed MN Legislative Update
Ed MN "Attacks" on Due Process

I thought this quote from the Ed MN "Attacks" opinion piece was interesting.
"The bills also use a performance ranking system. American corporations like Cargill and Medtronic are abandoning ranking systems because they demoralize managers and workers, discourage innovation, and actively encourage colleagues to work against each other. There is also evidence that ranking systems can discourage participation in mentorship programs. These programs are one of the things new educators value most, and give them an opportunity to learn from their more-experienced colleagues."

For about 25 years I have worked in companies that use these "evil" performance ranking systems.  I have had boss or two who did a good job with performance and training plans, coaching/support and perfomance ratings, more bosses that were "so so", and I have had one incompetent and self absorbed boss who used the process to ingratiate her to her boss.  Hoewever, never have I ever felt that peers were unwilling to collaborate, share, mentor, etc bacause at some time in the unknown future they may be judged inferior as compared to their peers.

In fact since team work, collaboration, communication, continuous improvement, mentoring, etc are all aspects of being a high performing employee, the EdMN comments are silly.

Strategy and Business
It seems to me that "abandoning" may be a big stretch.
"An increasing number of organizations have been listening to their employees’ complaints and taking a more sophisticated approach to performance management. They are replacing year-end appraisals and ratings with in-depth conversations, often drawing on the myriad data points now available about employee and company performance, such as sales information, organizational climate survey results, and employee engagement data. A few firms have begun to experimentally shift away from the conventional PM approach. The companies that have joined this trend, either in pilots or full rollout, include Adobe, Cargill, ConAgra, Gap, Intel, Juniper Networks, Medtronic, and Sears."


jerrye92002 said...

Hmmm, they may have a point. The merit pay increase system I have been describing was called "management by objectives." The division head/head honcho would set goals for the whole organization, and each of his reports would then engage in discussion as to how they would contribute to those, mutually agreeing on the what, how much, and when (and often including a "stretch objective." Each manager would then continue this process with each of his reports, and right on down the organization. My guess is that teacher evaluations, based on the "all cogs in the wheel are the same" management style created by union rules, may be far less effective.

John said...

Until "accountability" became an issue, I don't think there was much of a performance management or improvement system in place.

If I remember correctly, Teacher performance for tenured Teachers was only evaluated once every 3 years.

Can you even imagine a service / training company that does not actively request customer feedback. I mean almost every class I have taken since I garduated from High School provided a class / Teacher / facility evaluation form.

However, as I have said before... Why would K-12 Status Quo Public School management survey Parents / Students about how effective they felt the Teacher / Class was if they have no desire and/or ability to improve?

jerrye92002 said...

That has long been my response to those who say that teacher evaluations are very difficult to do. Nonsense. Ask any reasonable sample of kids and parents (and other teachers) and they will TELL you, clear as day, who are the "good" teachers and which ones aren't pulling their weight. I suspect there are far more of the former than the latter, and I would like to reward and promote them so they could help those struggling. And of course I would like them given more freedom to practice their profession to meet the objectives rather than following rigid rules on how to teach.

John said...

The involved Parents definitely know. My beloved wife always surveyed a sampling of parents with older kids. Most Teachers got mixed reviews because the Parents were looking for different attributes in a "great teacher", a few received accolades from all, and a few who received a near universal "thumbs down".

The very poor Teachers were usually highly disorganized, could not maintain class discipline, often highly emotional, lost assignments often, etc. The disturbing part was that these Teachers would still be teaching for 4+ years once the Principal finally got the nerve up to work at removing them. The involved parents would therefore work to keep their kids out of those classes... Thus the unlucky kids would end up with those Teachers.

By the way, some of them were very nice people who simply did not belong in a classroom.

jerrye92002 said...

I can relate to most of that. But it only confirms my belief that a proper performance evaluation system would eliminate the vast majority of both "so-so" and terrible teachers. If EdMN was correct in that these systems are being used to "rank" teachers, say from 1 to 100 and #100 is the first one laid off, then it is being done incorrectly. A proper system tries to quantify your performance against what you should be able to accomplish, and decides whether you meet, exceed, or need improvement to reach that level. If you exceed you get a nice raise. If you meet, you get a cost of living raise, maybe next year, and if you need improvement, you don't get a raise but you DO get whatever training management and you think would help.

Here is the problem in a nuthouse: EdMN has established this paradigm where every teacher is just another union drone, completely interchangeable with another (so long as they are union) and the only distinguishing characteristic allowed is that the older ones get paid more. Therefore ANY attempt to treat teachers like the professionals they are and to recognize and reward them as individuals based on merit upsets the whole union-established order. Let's Do it! :->