Variable Corporate Goals when using a forced ranking process … a fair performance measurement?

A challenge exists today when previously establish corporate goals are changed within organizations: multinational or US based, multiple divisions and various employee classifications.  What happens when it is time to evaluate progress towards goals which have been changed / deleted?  What rating process is fair?

Organizations have a challenge here:  assess the results of those (changed)  goals via some rating / ranking methodology at the end of the review cycle.

Several issues exist: First, are there corporate wide goals which encompass all departments?  Might there be the sales division goals which relate to the financial department objectives; and are specific to all employees? Not likely.

Second, we all know that priorities change during the year (during the review cycle).  Sometimes there is a significant
change in goals resulting is a change, an add, or a deletion of a goal (or goals) in order to reflect new / changed corporate directions.

So when an organization (department, division, work group) re-aligns such goals is there a corresponding re-alignment of the performance measurement scale? Should organizations follow a bell curve (Likert grouping)  for their appraisal process when measuring goal achievement? Is there a pre-defined process where a specified number of employees are deemed “acceptable” for a particular rating? Is this fair when the goal(s) have been changed, added, deleted during the review period?

It has been suggested for organizations to first conduct the appraisal and then, based on the output, decide the process of  merit allocation.  At the same time, organizations typically communicate merit allocation guidance without promoting the idea of forced ranking – a sublime approach to articulating the bell curve rather than set numbers.

Bottom line is that there are no easy answers.  Perhaps additional training for managers and supervisors on how to adjust the score.  A Likert-type scale may be the best approach here.  Evaluate results according to a subjective criteria with a general assessment to measure a level of agreement or disagreement.

Is this five-level Likert grouping appropriate for the scenario stated above?

1. Strongly disagree
2. Disagree
3. Neither agree nor disagree
4. Agree
5. Strongly agree

Likert scales like this one will tabulate scores, the purpose of which is to get to a sum total score for each ratee (this would be the rating average).  The intent of using a 5 point Likert is to attain a fair assessment when corporate goals are rated at the end of the review cycle.  Is this fair?

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