Face it - there will always be that person in the office. The one you don’t get along with, despite however wonderful they are at their jobs. Your personalities clash in the worst possible ways and even though you’re a pretty fair person otherwise, you just can’t make yourself promote an employee you can’t stand. A skilled talent manager, however, doesn’t have these issues. You can remove bias to manage talent the best way possible - well you need to - because “I don’t like you” isn’t a good defense.
Cause for Discrimination
There’s a very real potential with the “I don’t like you” defense, that you and the organization might face some discrimination accusations. This could be construed as racial, gender or orientation bias in the eyes of some employees and leadership. However, courts have noted:
“Dislike of an individual, even if that individual is a member of a protected group, without more, does not amount to prohibited discrimination.”
Despite the legal invalidity of simply not getting along with someone, it’s not fair to the person you can’t stand. Be as objective as possible, even ask for help when it comes time for promotions and raises. Just because you don’t work well with someone doesn’t mean their work is any less meritable. Look at their work objectively… Was it done on time? Was it done well? Use metrics like these to determine the quality of their work rather than who they are.
"I don't like you," isn't a good defense in performance evals. Read these effective management tips:
You’ve been in the HR space for long enough now to have heard the term “Halo Effect.” The subconscious actions of managers to believe someone they work well with - someone they like - can do no wrong. Even when these revered employees make mistakes, it’s not a big deal. Well, the “Horns Effect” is just the opposite. It doesn’t matter what an employee does well, it’s never good enough.
In fact, the Horn Effect can be a problem with regular performance appraisals. You rate harshly on an employee you don’t like, and thus they receive a lower score on their performance review. And what happens when an employee gets a lower rating on their review? The less likely they are to grow in their role and into a leadership position. Performance evaluators can make the following mistakes:
● 40.1% of supervisors don’t follow up with employees after reviews.
● 40% of managers don’t want to hurt feelings or overrate.
● 38.9% of evaluators review based on the most recent performance, not the whole period.
● 13.8% don’t finish the evaluation.
● 18.6% fall victim to the Halo Effect.
● 12.3% of evaluators’ judgment is clouded by the Horn Effect.
Each criterion when hiring internally or conducting performance reviews has a particular weight attached to them. Whether your organization bases requirements or standards on percentages or another metric, anchoring tasks isn’t a good way to judge the effectiveness of an employee in their job. When talent managers “anchor,” they subconsciously or consciously give things a greater weighting than they actually merit. When making a decision based on a team member’s ability to do their work, the one project they didn’t do well on would be the anchored piece of information, which in turn reduces their chances of growing into a leadership role unfairly.
An employee dedicated to their role and the company is always looking for ways to grow professionally. As a talent manager, it should be your goal to overcome these biases and tendencies towards subjective evaluation through objective oversight and subsequently evaluate based upon ability. It’s unfair and potential cause for discrimination accusations to simply dismiss an employee because you don’t like them. Whether you like them or not has no precedence over their ability to do their job well.
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.