Are managers missing important employee contributions?

Friday, December 20th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

How should project managers evaluate their team members?

One obvious way is to call for more data. That's not difficult in professions where the results of an employee's labor are easy to quantify. Salespeople, for example, must sell a certain number of products in a given month. If they cannot meet their quotas, they may be poor performers. On the other hand, those who end up selling much more may be on track for a promotion, a raise or both.

But what about other professions? Project managers often work in occupations that require a significant amount of planning and the generation of new ideas. With less concrete outputs, how can such efforts be quantified?

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review grapples with that question. Contributor Richard Johnson cites teacher evaluations as one area in which quantified data can sometimes fail.

He points out that when teachers are judged based on their students' test scores, those scores tend to rise. However, he also cites research that raises questions about a link between higher test scores and better learning.

Johnson argued that there are plenty of instances when managers might not realize how much value a particular employee offers. With projects, it is not always clear whose original idea contributed to a final outcome. Work done in teams is a collaborative effort, and individual achievement can be difficult to discern.

New Leaf Project Management's 2-day program, "Leading Project Teams," shows you how to value (and evaluate) the work of your team. In addition, our online games and white papers let you learn while you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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