Thursday, June 05, 2014

Diversity Thursday

Raise you hand if you were ever tasked to come up with FITREP or NJP metrics by ethnic group!

Well, this is where it ultimately leads;
One government agency has decided that the results of employee ratings are too discriminatory, and eliminated the process entirely. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Monday that it will now award all employees the highest rating regardless of performance reviews.

The CFPB, which oversees transactions in the financial sector for the federal government, decided to no longer conduct employee reviews because there were just too many apparent “significant disparities” between the races, ages, and locations of its employees.
The CFPB is the agency unaccountable to Congress, created in the last few years that will regulate almost all aspects of your life, especially if you own property.

Here is the beautiful thing. Not only are all kids above average and everyone gets a trophy, but ...
... this new policy is set to cost over $5 million dollars, as it will now pay employees as if they received the highest evaluation score. The previous system ranked staff on their performance from a scale ranging from one to five, with five being the best score a CFPB staffer could receive after a review of their work on the job.

This development comes right before the agency is scheduled for a Wednesday hearing to investigate allegations that it practiced retaliatory actions towards certain employees. News reports have circulated that the alleged “discriminations” were race-based and that the CFPB implemented their new policies to alleviate that problem.
Yep, everyone gets a 5.

Here is what the surface message is: the CFPB leadership has determined that racism, sexism, and parochialism (but mostly racism) is so widespread and uncontrollable, that they will simply have end employee evaluations and give everyone a bonus.

Of course, they know and you know that is not true. In an organization as large as that, how do metrics get so out of whack?

Well, before we go further - here are the assumptions I live under.

1. Evaluate all people as individuals, not their race, creed, color, national origin, or sexual preference. I don't care about any of that, just performance.
2. Select the best you can for the job at hand in line with #1.
3. Evaluate performance based on same.

When you have people joining an organization based on these principals, there will be no difference later on with performance, promotion, discipline, etc. except for statistical noise. People of all backgrounds are capable of performing if they all meet objective criteria.

Where organizations get in trouble is where they mess up their entrance standards. If you have lower standards of entry for one arbitrary group over another, then that average lower performance ability will carry on through each stage of progression of the career. In the zero sum game that is hiring, if in order to do the above lower standard in order to bring in more of one group, then you have to raise the standard - ie require a higher average quality person from the other group for balance.

That is where the CFPB is having trouble. They are not hiring everyone with the same criteria regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin (I don't think sexual preference is one of their metrics, yet). That is why there is a difference in performance. Some groups have an artificially lower average ability based on objective criteria, and at the same time another group has a much higher average ability based on objective criteria (only due to their higher requirements for entry).

At the start, you have a induced error. That will carry on. The people whose job is evaluated by who they hire are happy - they've made their metrics - but the operational people who have to make it all work are not happy - they have to explain why they have different performance evaluations.

As an institution, the CFPB had few options:
1. Admit that they did not hire by objective criteria.
2. Put in ranking quotas by group (only certain percentages of each group could be a 5, 4, 3, etc).
3. Hold an in-house inquisitional by accusing the entire management structure of racism, sexism, etc.
4. Sweep everything under the rug by simply ditching the performance evaluation system and send the bill to the taxpayer.

It seems they took #4.

There is also a #5 that I don't think they believe, but one could infer based on their actions; #5 would be that CFPB believes that there is a difference in the races, they cannot fix that, so instead they will ditch the evaluation system to hide that fact. The CFPB leadership may be many things, but I don't think eugenically focused bigots are one of them.

Life is so much simpler when you do a few things - the things Mama and Papa Salamander taught me.
1. Tell the truth, it is easier to remember.
2. Speak only when it improves the silence.
3. Treat everyone you meet regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what their job is, with respect until by their actions they show that they do not deserve it.
4. Never discriminate based on race, creed, color, or national origin - and don't care what people do with their private lives.
5. In all things, be fair and treat all others with equality - as you would be like others to treat you.

CFPB today ....

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