<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Assess the Performance of Individual Employees Who Work on Teams?

November 17, 2010
Dear No "I":
"Team" is one of the most widely misused and misunderstood terms in business. Some people use it to describe a tightly integrated group of people who are self-motivated and self-led. If your team is organized in this manner, presumably it's because the work of its members is highly interdependent, thus making it impractical for members to operate independently.
Others use the term to refer to any group of people working in a common function or department. If individuals do not depend on one another totally, they probably should not be regarded as a team. If, however, they indeed function as interdependent members of a group, evaluate them as such and reward them according to the success of the whole group.
What do you do if you wish to reward one or more exceptional members? Some team-based organizations find it effective to allow the members themselves to determine how much of a reward should be distributed to exceptional teammates. These rewards should be considerably less than those distributed to the team as a whole to avoid undermining the team structure. To assist team members in the reward-allocation process, you might help them develop meaningful criteria and parameters, such as the following:
•Individual rewards, if any, are determined only after team rewards have been established.
•No equal distribution of funds to all team members. Each team member evaluates fellow team members' contributions according to established and agreed-upon factors, such as superior effort, drive and results, breakthrough thinking, leadership and collaboration.
• Team members must all agree on how much and to whom individual rewards are distributed—no agreement equals no reward. If no single team member's contributions stand out above that of other members, no individual reward should be distributed.
If you haven't fully migrated to an integrated team structure, focus on changing the culture first, then address the reward system. Absent a team culture, problems associated with your reward system likely will become an unnecessary distraction, if not an outright nuisance. This is easily avoided with a supportive culture.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring, Ascent Management Consulting, Oro Valley, Arizona
LEARN MORE: Please read more on how to implement an effective performance management system.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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