Yahoo Employee-Ranking System and the Key Role of Technology & Leadership

In the article “A Yahoo Employee-Ranking System Favored by Marissa Mayer Is Challenged in Court” of the New York Times, a specific sentence should capture all CEOs and CHROs attention. It is the following: “Ratings given by front-line managers were arbitrarily changed by higher-level executives who often had no direct knowledge of the employee’s work.”

This is where leadership is prevalent and fingers can be pointed. Let me give you an example we experienced here at Checkster.

While implementing one of our solutions at a very prominent software company in the San Francisco bay area on pre-hire performance, the request came like this:

“We would like the fact to see the feedback given by all managers, but we want the ability to change it!”

Our software does not allow this to preserve the integrity of the feedback. Of course in technology, all is possible; it was just the first time that such a request was made to us. Why would you want to change the rating? After multiple discussions and weak reasoning, such as:

“Our CEO does not like to see typos hence we want to make sure we can correct them.”

We could not agree with the rationale, the integrity risks and we had to decline their request with the potential of losing them as a customer. We did lose them as they wanted that ability.

How does that relate to the Yahoo Employee ranking scandal? Because the ability to allow the rating changes is a decision that must have been made by an executive. This is where technology can be your best ally to prevent those manipulations or the worst liability if you allowed it. Because if you allowed it, the question becomes...why was it allowed?