Multi-person comparison is basically used to compare one person’s performance with that of one or more individuals. This is relative, not absolute, measuring device. The three most popular forms of this method are group-order ranking, individual ranking, and paired comparison.
The group-order ranking requires the evaluator to place employees into a particular classification such as “top fifth” or “second fifth.” If a rater has 20 employees, only four can be in the top fifth, and, of course, four must be relegated to the bottom fifth.
The individual ranking approach requires the evaluator to list the employees in order from highest to lowest. Only one can be “best.” In an appraisal of 30 employees, the difference between the first and second employee is assumed to be the same as that between the twenty-first and twenty-second. Even though some employees may be closely grouped, no ties are allowed.
In the paired comparison approach, each employee is compared with every other employee in the comparison group and rated as either the superior or weaker member of the pair. After all paired comparisons are made, each employee is assigned a summary ranking based on the number of superior scores he or she achieved. Although this approach ensures that each employee is compared against every other employee, it can become unwieldy when large numbers of employees are being assessed.
If, for some reason, an employee is not meeting his or her performance goals, a manager needs to find out why. If it’s because the employee is mismatched for the job (a hiring error) or because he or she does not have adequate training, the fix is relatively simple. The manager can either reassign the individual to a job that better matches his or her skills or train the employee to do the job more effectively. If the problem is associated with an employee’s lack of desire to do the job, not with his or her abilities, it becomes a discipline problem. In that case, a manager can try counseling and, if necessary, take disciplinary action such as verbal and written warnings, suspensions, and even terminations.
Employee counseling is a process designed to help employees overcome performance related problems. Rather than viewing the performance problem from a punitive standpoint (discipline), employee counseling attempts to uncover why employees have lost their desire or ability to work productively. More importantly, it’s designed to find ways to fix the problem.
In many cases, employees don’t go from being productive one day to being unproductive the next. Rather, the change happens gradually and may be a function of what’s occurring in their personal lives. Employee counseling attempts to assist employees in getting help to resolve whatever is bothering them. The premise behind employee counseling is fairly simple: It’s beneficial to both the organization and the employee. Just as it’s costly to have an employee quit shortly after being hired, it’s costly to fire someone. The time spent recruiting and selecting, orienting, training, and developing employees translates into money.
If, however, an organization can help employees overcome personal problems and get them back on the job quickly, it can avoid these costs. But make no mistake about it, employee counseling is not intended to lessen the effect of an employee’s poor performance, nor is it intended to reduce his or her responsibility to change inappropriate work behavior. If the employee can’t or won’t accept help, then disciplinary actions must be taken.