According to an old saying, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. The same adage applies to today's business world. But, while products of any nature are usually easy to measure and quantify, employee performance and the way we use job performance measures is an entirely different situation. So read on as we will enlighten you about every nook and cranny of building an effective performance measurement method.
Today’s HR professionals and managers have access to a wide range of advanced job performance measures. Performance evaluation usually includes hard facts and data representative of employee work, but we also need to remember that it’s not just about data.
Accurate job performance measures also consider insights that only another human can understand and appreciate. After all, various factors can influence the way an employee performs. So how do you tune the performance evaluation process to ensure you're not being subjective or unfair?
How to measure job performance
Because decision-makers need complex data to guide their process, performance evaluations must find the middle ground between intuition and performance indicators.
After all, you can't build a business on the feeling that everything is going well - you need actual measurable and quantifiable proof that what you're doing is working.
Let's have a look at the factors an evaluator checks during a performance evaluation meeting:
- Is this person effective? Do they do their assigned tasks according to company standards?
- Do they know how to use the resources at their disposal? Are they efficient?
- Is this person looking to improve and grow in their current position? Are they actively learning new skills and trying to better themselves?
- If you pay close attention to the points mentioned above, you'll identify 2 clear indicators of performance: efficiency and effectiveness. Now, how do you measure these?
HR professionals came up with a series of metrics that help make sense in a management by objectives business model. These job performance measures are based on both hard data and human insight in order to make sense of the efficiency and effectiveness of an employee.
The most important ones are quality of work (often paired with productivity), growth and development graph, team integration (usually associated with communication skills), and goal & objectives achievement.
Job performance measures based on indicators
In this section, we'll look at some of the most critical employee performance metrics and how to measure each factor. Plus, we’ll have a look at the reason why it's essential to understand their meaning.
1. Quality of work & productivity
Ask anyone, and they'll tell you that productivity is way easier to measure than the quality of work. After all, productivity can sometimes be confused with 'keeping busy' or always having a packed schedule.
But just because a team member always has something on their plate, it doesn't mean their work is of quality. What productivity shows is how much a person produced in a given period of time.
So, if Jane from content marketing produces ten blog posts per month, everyone can say she is productive. But is her work yielding results? That's where you start to check the actual quality of work.
In the case of Jane, you can appraise work quality by measuring factors such as:
- The number of viewers brought in by her blog posts
- Number of new clients generated organically
- Social media engagement with the content she creates
- The bounce rate on each of the posts she created
- Types of comments and rankings under each blog post
Overall, when you have a clear goal in mind (increasing sales, for instance), it's easier to measure the quality of work by focusing on how the results align with it.
Of course, an employee's performance in terms of work quality depends on their tasks, the industry, and other elements of that nature. So, you need to adapt the evaluation process and make it your own.
2. Growth and development
Because many people use a chronological resume template to apply for jobs, it can be easy to assume that a person who has a full CV is growth-oriented.
In most situations, this impression is accurate - people who have experience with different employers and in various positions in the field are more interested in learning and growing.
However, it’s difficult to understand the internal environment of another business. For instance, employees who seem diligent on paper may not be as proactive as they appear in a different environment. The only way to tell the difference is to check their behavior once they are part of your organization.
Here are a few pointers to look out for:
- They are excited to participate in training programs offered by the company;
- They apply the information received during training to improve work performance;
- They respond well to constructive feedback and consider recommendations;
- They make suggestions on improvements around the office and are interested in creating a positive environment;
- They attend professional development events and seek to engage in training even on their own time (setting improvement individual goals to hone new skills or sharpen old ones).
To ensure the performance management system considers these indicators, use data such as attendance to training, participation during learning events, and skill improvement over time.
3. Team integration
The ideal employee knows how to deliver maximum work quality and productivity with minimum effort and expense. They don't make many costly mistakes, and they use the resources already at their disposal without going into overtime or missing deadlines.
But, to get to this level of performance, you need both job knowledge and team support. After all, in today's work environment, you can't do much if you don't have the team's support.
Therefore, team integration and communication skills need to be monitored. In this case, the most valuable insight comes from the team members, especially those who interact daily with the person under evaluation. Ask for employee reviews of the person, and don't forget about team assessments.
One way to easily get peers-to-peers is via peer-recognition software in which employees can give each other points, comments, and praises. Sprynkl - Grove HR's employee engagement software is one prominent example.
While it's essential to know how other employees see the person, it's also important to assess their integration with the team. During performance appraisals, make sure to test for effective communication within the team and individual levels.
4. Goal & objectives achievements
Clear goals and objectives defined for a specific period are ideal for measuring employee performance. After all, once a goal has been achieved according to expectations, it's pretty clear that everything is going well.
However, leaders cannot set the right goals without everyone's input. Most organizations that set company goals at the executive level without consulting employees will create unhappy employees.
Managers must sit down with their teams and chat about future career goals and objectives. Everyone involved should have a saying in the process. It will help you set more realistic goals and time frames, making employees feel valued and seen.
Plus, you can also have a set of goals for the team, where each member can decide on their individual goals for growth and development. Goals like better communication or increasing quality leads delivered by a project can inspire people to work harder.
Also, don't forget that employee evaluation is a 2-way conversation meaning you should also discuss individual employees' personal goals and find ways to tie them into the higher organizational goals. Plus, it helps to know what type of language to use, so both parties have a positive and productive performance review meeting.
Performance evaluation tools
Each company has its own tools for performance appraisals, but here are a few specific examples of the most common formats:
Graphic rating scales - are a simple tool that can be used to keep track of an employee's performance in time. Evaluators use numbers (1 to 10) to rate an employee's performance goals in a specific area or skill. As time goes by, the scale should have an upward trend to the person is improving and can overcome challenges.
Self-evaluation forms - ask employees to submit regular self-evaluation forms and compare your appraisal to the results. Employees are often more critical of themselves, which will help you understand if you're both on the same page regarding performance evaluation.
360-degree feedback - it's important to get feedback from multiple sources within the company, including supervisors and remote colleagues. A complete assessment must include opinions from the entire circle of people the employee interacts with within the company (hence the 360-degree feedback system). By varying the sources, it's easier to identify the true positives and negatives in their performance.
Gauging employee performance is important to understand whether they are a good fit for the company. But it also helps with understanding employee goals that may not be in perfect alignment with your business.
Plus, it's good to have regular performance reviews, not just annual ones. More frequent check-ups normalize the process and allow management to keep in touch with the employees. And, if there is a problem, it's easier to fix if caught early on.
If you’re interested in learning more about today’s way of assessing employee performance, check out our Performance Enablement Playbook curated by leading industry experts below.