Ethical Issues in Management
The most successful companies know that their ability to succeed is directly influenced by the dedication and excellence of the people they employ.To ensure that they tap into that potential, support the employee’s growth and maintain optimal performance, managers review their employees’ progress and evaluate their effectiveness in their position.These performance evaluations are most commonly performed on an annual basis to be used as a check list for pay raises.
The best use of this management tool is to do a running evaluation several times throughout the year to give faster and more accurate feedback of performance to the employee and their managers.
This can help to bolster good behavior, reign in any questionable business practices, or catch and redirect undesirable behavior much faster. In the case of a lazy or unmotivated employee frequent performance reviews would be the best ethical option, rather than allow coworkers motivation to decline and a manager’s effectiveness to erode over the course of the year while waiting for the employee’s annual review in order to address any problems.
Business ethics dictate that the more frequent evaluation timeline gives the manager the tools to evaluate the employee and point out any necessary changes long before their behavior becomes a problem for coworkers, the department or the company. From a moral point of view managers should always attempt to motivate and encourage the best practices and a more involved and responsive manager will have a happier and stronger group of workers in the long run.
Any manager would attest that one lazy, unhappy or unmotivated employee can quickly cause a deterioration of attitudes and work ethic throughout an entire department if not handled quickly and effectively. In this economic climate the fear of company closures and job cutbacks is at the foremost of any employees mind. From a management standpoint cutbacks are a tightrope to walk for many reasons outside of the typically expected emotional toll.
Companies do not want to lose their highest producing employees, but they want to encourage the remaining employees and ensure that each department is left as functional as possible. The best answer to those concerns is to have done their employee evaluations frequently prior to the layoffs to best reflect not only the history of the employee but their current abilities and liabilities as well. When evaluating which employees to layoff the managers will have more information at their disposal to review and make the best long term employee retention decisions for their company.
While Employee A may have the best background and be a wonderful producer, their attitude in a healthy environment may be questionable and leaving them on after the cutbacks could cause his attitude to deteriorate further when keeping Employee B who may not have been as wonderful a producer, but who keeps morale high and pitches in to help with any team project could be the better option to keep since they could be encouraged and helped to increase production, but Employee A would be impossible to cheer up the next day.
Keeping an alcoholic employee with wonderful production but frequent absences could cause a deterioration in the department when they see another’s lay off as unfair if the absent alcoholic is retained. Having frequent and up to date evaluations on hand can help a manager overcome any personal biases and help to retain the employee who is historically and currently the best employee suited to the new company environment after a round of layoffs. Evaluations done throughout the year can also help to account for outside influences that are affecting an employee’s effectiveness in the workplace.
For example: a female employee was a wonderful employee for the first quarter of the year; coming in early, leaving late, putting in extra time and effort into every report and maintaining an optimal production percentage every month. She became pregnant and her work suffered greatly as she was extremely ill, missed a great deal of work and could not keep up with her work load in the expected manner. Her manager did frequent reviews and was able to quickly see a decrease in production and complications with claims.
Had the manager only done one review that year her record would have looked sporadic, the production averages would have been greatly diminished and given her absences and tardiness her overall employment could have been in danger. Since the manager was able to show that the employee was reliable and hardworking prior to the pregnancy and illness, Human Resources department was able to show that this one poor evaluation was a short term issue that should not outweigh the many good reviews the employee had accumulated over her years with the company.
From a social standpoint her team members were happy to work with her as many of them had been in her shoes and understood that this was a short term problem. Since she had a medical condition the company was legally obligated to assist with her work restrictions, but that could easily have been held against her in later reviews had her manager not performed quarterly reviews that reflected her value and track record of hard work for the company prior to the illness.
Doing frequent evaluations enabled the manager to catch her decreasing abilities quickly and allowed to him to remove several large projects from her expected workload and to slow down in the assignment of projects until she was better able to handle the situation. It also allowed him to hold a team meeting where everyone was appraised of the status of her projects so that on the occasions when she was quickly removed from the office for more than a day or two, any available team member could step in and maintain her projects until she returned.
In looking at the situation from an ethical standpoint her manager was able to help her and assist the team in temporary transitions of responsibility to keep the department flowing as smoothly as possible because he was able to spot the issue before it became a problem and quickly find solutions before any lapse in service to customers occurred. Employee evaluations are rarely a fun event for anyone involved but completing them more often eventually leads to fewer negative points needing to be covered and the high points will be reflected more often.
When managers are able to catch infractions while they are small they are able to redirect the employee’s behavior before any major issues arise. Conversely, this also enables managers to see the smaller good acts by employees that are frequently overlooked and for which they are rarely given credit or thanks throughout the year. These small adjustments are more easily accomplished and recognition of the daily good actions lead to happier and more fulfilled employees who feel that they are truly being seen by their managers and appreciated for the hard work and effort that they put into their jobs every day.