Saturday, July 2, 2016
The Danger of Metrics
Let me give you an example. Let us assume an instructor must actively engage in online classroom forums. If you don't engage in 3 days you will get a message from an administrator saying you are not fulfilling your contract. However, if you check your course every day but students have posted over the first few days of the week because the class has low enrollment, its a holiday, and students are working on finals.
The metric isn't reflective of what is actually going on. The instructor might be checking in every day, which exceeds the requirements, could be reviewing course materials, etc... To fix this problem and not receive a notice would mean the instructor would just have to stick some artificial posting in there to a student that hasn't yet responded.
There are other times when metrics are poorly designed and are actually encouraging poor behavior. The metrics are designed to ensure certain activities are done that are profit driven but forget all the other things that make those activities possible. Employees might skip corners so they get high metric numbers and earn higher pay. Bubbles of work occur that could be a detriment to the organization as non measured activities are ignored.
Metrics should be well thought out, take into consideration the possibility that they are not always accurate or beneficial, and will need continuous adjustment. These metrics are like research variables that need validity and actually measure what they say they are measuring. Employees will be paid and rewarded based on these metrics and they should not be the only evaluative tool. Your company will be defined by these metrics.