Do you actually rate employees on whether you like them?

Do you hire people and rate their effectiveness on whether they can do the work, or on whether you like them?

Before you answer, ask yourself who you rate as having the better playing career in tennis – Pat Rafter or Lleyton Hewitt?

Let me give you some information on actual performance on our two candidates:

  • Both have made four Grand Slam finals, both winning two (one of them won Wimbledon)
  • Both have won the Masters Series twice
  • One has made 25 career singles finals, the other 44.
  • One took victory in 44% of the singles finals they made, the other 64%
  • One has a lifetime record of 358-191 (65%), the other 591-236 (71%)
  • Both have been number one in the world.  For one, it was for a week.  The other, for 80 weeks.
  • And if you want grit, one was still able to win 31% of the time after losing the first set.  The other 40%.

You can see what I’m getting at.  The latter in all of the above is Lleyton Hewitt.  By these measures, he was a better player than Pat Rafter.  He could do the work required of ‘tennis player’ more effectively.  And what does he get for his efforts?  He once advertised Sorbent.

We tend to hire people based on whether we like them under the excuse of ‘cultural fit’, or ‘we just clicked’.  But we’re not hiring people to be our mates.  We are hiring people to make decisions and produce outputs.  So what we need are people who can do this.

What about genuine behavioural issues?  We forget that the workplace is an adult community.  Let your people know that you expect them to eliminate any traits of behaviour that would make others not want to work with them, and that you’ll be pointing these out should you see them.

What if they don’t change?  If you are in a properly empowered managerial role, you will have the authority to initiate removing people from your team.  Time to use it.  (And no complaining about HR procedures.   I am yet to see any policy that does not allow removing from roles on fair grounds.)

Hire people who can do the work, and who value the work.  Assess their effectiveness on this basis and expect nothing more, but nothing less than basic adult standards of getting along.  Don’t worry about whether you like them.  When you see the performance, you’ll like them soon enough.


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