Tuesday Buzz: a Secret Metric for Gauging Employee Performance

Using a derivative of this subtle tactic can tell you how trustworthy your employees really are. Plus: Try focusing on how many jobs machines have created, instead of on how many they have eliminated.

When SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson ran a bar in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood 16 years ago, he devised a clever strategy to determine which employees were stealing—a strategy that business leaders who question their own employees’ dedication can use.

The “lime equation” was born from his observation that “there was a relationship between the number of drinks served and the bags of limes we’d get through.” Atkinson soon realized that when the ratio was off between lime bags purchased and quantity of drinks sold, there was something fishy going on with the bar’s profits. He wanted to catch the culprit without resorting to Orwellian surveillance measures, which, he explains, just invoke retaliation from employees.

Atkinson didn’t force information out of anyone. All he had to do was rotate the bar staff to see on which occasions the lime equation didn’t work out—no security cameras or detective-style inquisition necessary. Shortly after, he found the guilty party, who had a bag full of the bar’s cash.

It’s a formula that business leaders can use in their own management practices to weed out the unmotivated.

“The hardest part of a Lime Equation is finding the right one. To do this, look at what you currently micromanage,” Atkinson writes. “Whatever is killing peace of mind and stressing your employees out—whatever calls for the corporate equivalent of security cameras and random searches—that is what needs a Lime Equation.”

The Machines Are Coming

We may grumble about how machines have taken jobs from humans, but that’s hardly the entire picture. A series of graphs from NPR show that for as many roles that technology has made obsolete, it has also created scores of new opportunities for workers.

“For hundreds of years, people have been talking about machines taking jobs from people,” the article points out. “Less often discussed: machines creating new jobs.”

For example, machines’ obliteration of many farming jobs paved the way for factory jobs to flourish. Not all sectors survive the waves of technological advancements, but those that do only have something to gain from the rise of machines.

Other Links of Note

Get ready for the busiest summer travel season yet, according to Airlines for America. The trade group predicts that about 222 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines this June through August, a 4.5 percent increase from the same period in 2014.

Parting words: Tisha Schuller, departing president and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, shares her experiences leading the organization in an exit interview with Colorado Matters.

Not having a plan B can be the impetus for career success, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper explains in an excerpt from Gillian Zoe Segal’s new book Getting There: A Book of Mentors.


Julia Haskins

By Julia Haskins

Julia Haskins is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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