Performance Appraisal

Alice has worked part time for the bank for several years. Last year, she was charged with being a manager in the Training and Development department. Her primary responsibility is to train bank tellers. Alice took a class in training and knows that adults learn better with positive reinforcement and constructive criticism.

The bank is trying to hire and promote more racial minorities. The bank has been the target of several discrimination lawsuits in the last few years and wants to change its image.

Joanne is an African-American teller trainee. All of the other trainees in this particular group are white. Joanne is having a very hard time learning the material but does not appreciate Alice’s constructive criticism. Joanne insists that Alice is treating her differently because of her race and threatens to file a formal complaint unless Alice eases up on her.

Questions:

1. What should Alice do?

2. What role does the bank play here?

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2 Responses to Performance Appraisal

  1. greenmba2008 says:

    1. Alice should document all of the constructive criticism she has used with JoAnne and the other trainees. She should document all reasons why each trainee received the constructive criticism. That way, she has a paper trail of her training style that is consistent with everyone. She should also find other ways that may be more effective in training JoAnne. Alice should also address JoAnne’s complaint and apologize for any misperception and assure JoAnne that her style is consistent among all of the trainees.

    2. The bank is liable if Joanne files a former complaint and the EEOC discovers through an investigation there is justification for the racially discriminating treatment.

  2. greenmba2008 says:

    1. There are several things for Alice to consider based on the bank’s policies. I would encourage Alice to refer to the bank’s policies and procedures and or supervisor’s manual(s) if one exists to reassure herself of the process of handling complaints from employees. The guidelines should be the foundation of how she deals with this situation. She should document her conversations with Joanne and the suggestions that she provided to help Joanne meet teller standards. As Joanne’s immediate supervisor, Alice could schedule time to speak with Joanne one-on-one to extract from Joanne how she receives feedback best so that she can help Joanne be an efficient teller. Alice could use some creative training and pair her with a “new” teller who completed training but may still need support so that Joanne can witness the interactions between Alice and the other trainee/teller. The “newer” teller may be able to guide Joanne in a way that makes her feel less intimidated than by a supervisor. Alice should be supportive of Joanne and give her the information she needs to file a formal complaint, but most importantly, reinforce with Joanne that she is a resource for her to succeed and would prefer to work together with Joanne to help her advance within the bank. Alice would also be savvy to communicate the ongoing concerns to her supervisor for guidance on how to handle the situation. Although Alice may be aware that the bank wants to promote people of color to freshen its image, she should be consistent with everyone and focus less on the bank’s goal as that in-and-of-itself should raise eyebrows. If Alice is not supported, she may consider finding alternative employment as the banks seems to have made its priority clear.

    2. The bank has opened itself up to even more complaints and possible lawsuits by setting promotion standards based on race. As we see with Alice, she is in a lose-lose situation as Joanne is more than likely aware of the bank’s goal. The bank should support Alice as Joanne is a bully and using the bank’s fear to her advantage. Although a formal complaint could be logged and investigated, it should only be a concern to the bank if their practices do promote racial discrimination. Some might consider their current practice of promoting people of color for image enhancement reverse racial discrimination. If the bank does not have policies and procedures for handling internal employee conflict, harassment, etc. then they should be more focused on identifying unifying goals and guidelines for all its employees. The bank has set Alice and others up for failure and it’s communicating a really poor message about the value of its employees. Who would want to work there?

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