How can cross-departmental teamwork be factored into individual performance assessments?

As more work in complex organizations is performed by cross-departmental teams, staff members may wonder how team performance can be reflected in individual performance assessments by a supervisor who may not be the assigned team leader or be deeply connected to the work of a team.  

Organizations need to find and establish practices that uphold contractual supervisor-employee performance management obligations while still allowing team performance to figure significantly into performance assessment.  This will require input by team leaders even if they are not direct supervisors of their team members, in ways that bring additional evidence to performance assessment but don’t overstep the role of the direct supervisor. 

Some ideas to consider:

  1. Non-supervisory team leaders can attend to the effectiveness of the team while the direct supervisor assesses the effectiveness of the individual. 
  2. A team could consider and agree on a set of impact indicators that are important to the team’s work and that align with the organization’s strategic goals. Teams can put a team assessment plan into place, with oversight by the team leader, and share that with supervisors of team members.  In that way, teams can function as partially self-managed and be coached for success without team leaders being directly involved in individual performance reviews. 
  3. Consider adapting proven approaches used by educators to assess group work in colleges and universities.

Further reading:

Assessing Group Work – Eberly Center – Carnegie Mellon University.

MacMillan, J., Paley, M., Entin, E. Questionnaires for Distributed Assessment of Team Mutual Awareness. In Salas (Ed.) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomic Methods, Taylor & Francis (2004). 3-32.

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