Should Managers Track Organizational Influence in Employee Evaluations?

Most employee performance reviews center on skills directly related to job duties, but a new Influence feature in the Chatter system by Salesforce.com aims to track individuals' organizational influence. This algorithm measures workers' activities and how team members respond to determine influencers in various departments.

Salesforce.com is so committed to the importance of organizational influence that it invites its top 20 Chatter influencers to off-site executive retreats. "Some were 22- or 23-year-old engineers," Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff told Fast Company, "and we put them on stage for a couple minutes each to talk about innovation and what we as a company should be doing."

Employees with organizational influence offer higher-ups unparalleled access to the issues, ideas, complaints and opportunities voiced throughout the company. Salesforce.com isn't the only company to create an algorithm to try to track influence: enterprise social networking firms National Field and Yammer are also tweaking proprietary metrics.

Salesforce.com spokespeople are quick to caution that the Chatter Influence feature isn't the only metric managers should use to identify influencers. Ripple, which was recently acquired by Salesforce.com, enables employees to recognize each other's hard work with badges and other digital kudos. Integrating the two tools, says Dave King, the director of Chatter product marketing, gives you "a complete picture -- not only what's derived [from activity on the system] but also what's declared by peers and managers."

Leaders, do you take organizational influence into account during evaluation meetings?

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