Employee evaluations and job performance measurements are considered a staple of modern human resources practice. That's because they have distinct benefits, including offering a fair way to give feedback, rewards and discipline. However, no system is perfect and job performance measurement has its drawbacks. Managers may find that measurement creates undue pressure and incomplete perspectives that hamper some of their goals for employee evaluation and feedback.
Job performance measurements only work when you measure the right things. Every manager who designs an evaluation faces the challenge of selecting methods to determine how well employees perform. Although some such as attendance and punctuality are easily quantifiable, others can be challenging and ambiguous. For example, effectiveness in a role is highly subjective. Two managers may define effectiveness very differently. Thus, looking at two performance evaluations of employees from different departments will not provide a fair or accurate comparison.
Some of the most important things an employee does can be impossible to measure. For example, an employee who gives great customer or client service and spends time to thoroughly resolve problems may appear less productive. Perhaps she doesn't take as many phone calls or see as many customers as a colleague does. At the same time, her ability to bring challenging situations to closure and increase customer satisfaction can be invaluable. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to observe, measure and compare. Standardized performance measurements might penalize someone who is going above and beyond.
The drive to achieve good performance reviews can lead employees to stick to their job descriptions and avoid taking on new duties and responsibilities. Frequently, performance measurement uses employee job descriptions as the basis for evaluating employee performance because they represent an objective list of duties and expectations. However, in dynamic and growing organizations, people change job duties, sometimes taking on additional duties or roles ad hoc. If they are then judged by their original job descriptions, workers will feel penalized or unrecognized for their extra efforts and team attitudes. Demotivation and avoidance of extra duties can result.
Organizations focused on creativity and innovation such as tech companies, advertising agencies and graphic design firms often encourage employees to take unorthodox approaches. Brainstorming and creating may be more critical activities than anything they can tangibly show at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there is no way to measure the creativity nor the amount of time required to develop a brilliant idea. Therefore, traditional measurement techniques can be wholly inadequate to the company's goals and expectation for its employees.