Employees don’t get to set work standards—You do! — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Employees don’t get to set work standards—You do!

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It’s far too easy to lose control over your workforce. All you have to do is let employees dictate how supervisors measure their performance. Don’t let it happen to your organization.

Instead, let employees know how you will judge how well they’re performing (e.g., sales, production, customer satisfaction) and then stick with those measures. No matter how unfair employees may think your measures are, courts seldom interfere as long as you apply the same metrics to all employees with the same or similar jobs.

Recent case:
James Murungi, who is Kenyan, lost his teaching job at Xavier University of Louisiana after several years of consistently poor student evaluations of his effectiveness.

Although he had been given several opportunities to improve his classroom performance, he apparently didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. At one point, the department chair explained exactly how Murungi could improve his lectures so that students would be more appreciative, but Murungi refused to comply. He also rejected her invitation to attend faculty development programs designed to improve teaching. Instead, he called the suggestions “kooky.”

Finally, the university declined to renew his contract. Murungi sued, alleging discrimination due to his nationality.

When confronted with the poor student evaluations, he simply told the court that the idea of allowing students to evaluate teachers was “deeply imperfect” and a “weak measure of instructional quality.”

The court wasn’t interested in Murungi’s opinion and ruled against him. The court said the university was free to decide how it wanted to evaluate faculty—if it wanted to use student evaluations as one of the measures, that was fine. Murungi offered no evidence that others with similarly poor student evaluations were treated any better. (Murungi v. Xavier University, No. 07-30950, 5th Cir., 2008) 

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