There are a number of qualifiers for candidates to join your team: experience, training, aptitude, etc. There is one thing most employers don’t account for when they hire – and even evaluate – those on their team. Do you really know how honest and trustworthy your employees are? Evaluating your team’s integrity is just as important as understanding employee performance. 

It’s difficult to assess for integrity if you don’t have trust with your current team. Unfortunately, only 8% of employees trust their managers to a great extent today. [1] Before adding integrity to the performance appraisal leaderboard, ensure that it has a track record among your executives. Without a sense of transparency, mutual trust wanes or simply can’t develop. Use the Lime Equation and performance appraisals to pinpoint and build the mutual trust between you and your employees.

The Lime Equation

Dane Atkinson (CEO of SumAll) owned a bar 16 years ago; an industry where free drinks happen all the time. He devised the Lime Equation to decipher when and which employees were being dishonest. Evaluating the number of drinks sold to the number of limes used, he was able to find the employee who had been taking advantage of the company. [2]

Atkinson advises the Lime Equation can be used for corporate office as well. Instead of finding the employees who are effectively stealing from the organization, use it to find the employees who are unmotivated or disloyal. These employees disrupt morale and fuel a leader’s need to micromanage to ensure tasks are completed properly. But why would you waste this time by keeping employees you don’t trust? This is the part of the performance appraisal you’ve been missing… it’s not just about their performance, it’s about how you trust them in their performance. What can substitute for limes in your industry or organization? Time spent, attitude points, referrals, sales numbers? Whatever you select, make sure your employees are aware of this new metric.

Results + Behavior

So how DO you manage and appraise for trust and integrity in an employee? Keith Ferrazzi suggests looking beyond results to behavior. After all, a highly skilled worker may be able to produce incredible results in a short amount of time, but if he’s scheming behind co-workers backs, undermining management and creating more havoc in his wake than most, he’s not very trustworthy.

On the other hand, a sunny, helpful employee who can’t produce any results and consistently misses deadlines or hands in subpar work is also NOT trustworthy because her behavior belies the fact that she’s not doing the job she was given. By evaluating both in management and all employees, you are able to see a pattern of integrity, which by definition, is doing what you said you would do.

Let Them Choose

Which metrics should you use to evaluate an employee’s performance? Ask them! Not only does this give you innovative ways to measure progress but it’s a great way for managers to determine whether the employee has integrity or not. Do they choose simple metrics and goals that anyone could hit fresh off the street? That shows very little integrity. Do they pick outlandish goals that would be impossible for even the most skilled contributor? They may need some coaching around realistic ideals. If they choose thoughtful and challenging goals or KPIs for themselves, chances are, they have high integrity.

It’s a Mutual Responsibility

During the performance appraisal, use part of the meeting to create a two-way discussion about the employee’s performance as well as your own. This open conversation builds that necessary mutual trust between you and your team. Even after the hiring process, cultivating that sense of honesty and transparency from both sides is relevant to preserving (or restoring) an engaged workforce. Heather Ripley, Founder and CEO of Ripley PR, said:

“The number one reason entrepreneurs resist delegating authority to employees is lack of trust. It’s hard work to build a mutual, trusting relationship, but by putting an emphasis on trustworthiness during the hiring process it can help establish your expectations from the start.” [4]

However, by integrating a two-way conversation incombination of the Lime Equation, leaders can grow to trust their employees and employees can truly rely on their leadership.


[1] – PR Newswire – Employees: Bosses Today Rarely Apologize, Inspire Les...

[2] – AssociationsNow – Tuesday Buzz: A Secret Metric for Gauging Employe...

[3] – MarketWatch – Survey: More Than Half of Employees Have Worked for a...

[4] – – Entrepreneurs, Have No Fear of Trusting Your Emp... 

Bio: Chris Arringdale

Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an online performance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including, Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.

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