DEED Meet and Confer celebrates victory

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When the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced new core values that would determine performance measures, MAPE members on the DEED Meet and Confer Team immediately contacted management with concerns that led to a revisiting of the values and performance mechanisms.

“In the summer of 2019, DEED established core values and used those six values for performance measures for employees,” said DEED Meet and Confer Chair Kirsten Peterson. “These values included things like communication and creating inclusion, and graciousness was added at the end.”

It was the addition of “graciousness” and the accompanying characteristic of integrity that made employees’ eyebrows raise in confusion and concern.

“Management’s definition of the value wasn’t necessarily objectionable, but we quickly found that women, BIPOC, basically anyone not male were being rated disproportionately on this value,” Peterson said. “No men failed that measure that we heard of. Our theory was graciousness was too inherently biased to be a measurable factor, no matter how strong the definition was.”

Attempting to collaborate with management before mass rollout of the values, DEED Meet and Confer Vice Chair Maureen Dunaway said the team alerted leadership that the graciousness value was not easily measurable. But it wasn’t until nine months later that graciousness was removed as a value on which employees would be evaluated.

“We did our best to collaborate with management early on,” Dunaway said. “We made it clear how inherent bias in performance management can skew data in a way that negatively impacts the agency. That’s where we started to get agency leadership’s attention.”

Since then, DEED leadership has been responsive and agreed to remove “graciousness” as a measure for employee performance.

“We are grateful our leadership heard us, were open to our feedback and eliminated this unmeasurable standard,” Peterson said.

The DEED Meet and Confer Team has since appealed all known MAPE employee graciousness failures.