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Using the Nine Box Matrix (discussed in chapter 10), and employee doing a good job might actually be rated lower than a mediocre employee who has been working in a developmental stretch assignment. Do you feel this is fair? Why/why not?
Putting people in boxes leads to more objective and fair decision-making
Brook (2018), “One of the problems with assigning people using a 9-Box Grid is that it labels people not only from an HR perspective, but also in the eyes of the whole senior management team. This causes decision biases and a powerful self-fulfilling prophecy effect which can be extremely detrimental to both the organization’s and people assigned to the grid, especially those deemed to have low potential even when they are strong performers. There has been a lot of research in schools and the workplace showing how powerful this effect can be, both for good and poor performers. People regarded as key talent are treated positively and are expected to do well, which often, translates into stronger performance and even more favorable treatment and sponsorship by top management. Those who are regarded as having little potential are not developed and challenged as much and senior management treats them as average employees and guess what, their performance and motivation declines.
There are several measures that can be taken to ensure greater levels of objectivity in the assessment and management of talent including:
- Robust assessment of talent using assessment or development centers.
- Introducing talent review and calibration meetings of senior managers from across the business to improve the quality of the dialogue and decisions. These should ideally be facilitated by HR or an objective third party to challenge assessment decisions and the assumptions behind these.
- Ensuring any measure of potential is clearly defined and objectivity measured to minimize subjectivity. As indicated before, we’ve found attributes such as agility, speed of learning and resilience a lot easier to measure and more predictive of potential than any attempt to try to measure potential directly.
- Ensuring a transparent, fair and objective performance management system to ensure assessments of performance are as unbiased as possible. Inviting feedback from colleagues and other stakeholders, in addition to the line manager, in what is termed “360-degree feedback” can also improve the objectivity of the process if the design and application of the 360-feedback process is undertaken with the assistance of experts in this area”.
Brook, J. (2018). Unpacking Myths Underpinning the 9-Box Talent Grid. Retrieved from http://www.strengthspartnership.com/blog/organisat…