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September 08, 2004



I don't think they trust their people. They punish their people for working there. Interview question - how do you measure performance in your company? What would you answer to this? Like - well, we basically don't trust our employees. So we chain them to the desk and only if they perform well enough, according to our standards, will they be able to go home and see their famil.

How attractive would this company be to some high performing, self motivated talent?

Somebody once said that to see the success of a company you have to walk the hallways and hear the laughters and conversations. If there are no laughters, and only serious conversations - if at all - than the company is doomed.

If you are a friend to your friend, advise him or her to look around for something better.

Sorry for the rambling!!

Jon Strande


Great comment! Thank you! No need to apologize! Ramble away!!! Yeah, I agree, that is a great statement about the laughter vs. serious conversations.


Chris Danielson

I'm not so sure it's about trust. Why was there a need for the tracking systems in the first place? I'd bet it was a lack of personal accountability and active management of poor performers by management. It's much easier to say your taking 20 min breaks and not hitting the 300 stroke performance indicator than it is to have a conversation about attitude and behavior. It's eliminating the need for constructive improvement and personal accountability.

I believe trust and relationships are built upon accountability. I also believe that a lack of management and leadership accountability for the performance of their employees signifies the beginning of the end for that organization.


They're training the employees to open Notepad and tap out nonsense to obtain the requisite number of strokes.

And they probably have a metric of calls per hour. I've phoned places like that. If I ask a question that takes time I get 'accidentally' cut off because it messes up the metrics to stay on the phone too long.

So I guess you get what you demand from your employees.

Chuck Conway

Great post. This is why I read your web log. Great Stuff!

The same is true if a company does too little. So what is the happy medium?


The productivity levels achieved by those methods could be high in the beginnings but sooner or later the human beings won't be willed any longer to play the submissive to the corporation - High turnover rates will follow and productivity will dramatically decrease, in my opinion. The employer will have to find new employees every couple of weeks instead of forming a long-term relationship with them. I guess that those who implement those degrading weapons of trust destruction have not worked a single day under those circumstances and as a result rank them as productivity boosters.

Fred Boness

This is more of the cult of measurement. So, you have a call center and you decide it's worth 25 cents to handle a call. That's what gets measured: cost per call.

As to mistrusting people, it's worse than that. The quality of service to customers and quality of life of employees isn't something measured. In this equation, people don't even exist.

Jon Strande

Boo, that is a great point, and probably true beyond work - the love you make is equal to the love you take... or something like that. :-)

Chuck, I'm happy that you read it! :-) Thank you! I'll keep writing if you keep visiting!

Mario, I couldn't agree more - I doubt the person who put those things in place has ever spent any amount of time doing any job like that. I was having a conversation with Fouroboros one night and he was saying something to the effect of: Dig a ditch, serve a meal, and something else... most people never do any of those things. A recurring theme in our house is that the most difficult thing to do is to walk a mile in someone elses shoes... how very true.

Fred, "people aren't even part of the equation". I bet you're right... and that is the problem - what is the long term cost to the company that results from that high turnover? How many lost customers because of bad customer service? Can that even be measured?


As a manager of such a department that measures number of phone calls, time logged in/not logged in, going above and beyond for customer satisfaction, etc., I will tell you 3 big reasons why we measure what we do:
1) To remove the subjectiveness of performance review (ultimately raises, bonuses and promotions) - Without numbers and stats, how do you say that Jane is a better/worse employee than Sally? Additionally, how can we say that John needs improvement in X if we have no metrics to objectively say that X is lacking?
2) To ensure that all are doing an equitable amount of work - If John takes 50 calls per day, and Jack takes 40, why is this?
3) To help address training needs - If Al is able to handle 15 out of 15 questions about e-mail per day, with no callbacks from clients, and Sally is only able to handle 5 out of 15, with callbacks and always asking for help, chances are Sally needs to spend some time learning more about e-mail questions from Al.
There are many other reasons to measure more and more, some good, some not so good. Remember, there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. Like others have mentioned, you get what you measure, so if you want to increase X, you probably will, but Y will suffer. The key is to measure a variety of metrics and make up a whole picture; about your support organization, and about your clients.

Jon Strande

Phil, Thank you for the very thoughtful, very detailed comment. One thing that I strive to do is to understand every side of a situation: "He who knows only his side, knows little." So, along those lines, would you be willing to share more about this?

1.) How do you measure customer satisfaction?
2.) Who do you work for(or industry) and what types of calls come in or go out?
3.) Are these help-desk calls? (sounds like it)
4.) Have you ever stopped measuring something? If so, what & why?
5.) Do you think your employees are "connected" to the clients? i.e, do they care about the clients, the outcome of the call, and the company?

I will not disagree with the what gets measured gets done thing - to a large extent that is true. But, I don't buy that metrics are a prerequisite for a successful operation. Anyway, I'd love to hear more about some of the real-world things that have worked for you!!


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