Employees are the force that drives a company forward. So it should come as no surprise that the daily performance of the workforce hugely influences the success or failure of a business.
To stay successful in today’s market, businesses must find ways to maintain and bring out the best performance from their employees. Not only does this help to hire, retain and develop the best talent, but by helping staff to grow within their roles and responsibilities, the company can build a pipeline of future leaders. All contributing to long-lasting success.
Working to improve employee performance is an ongoing process that involves measurement, evaluation, and planning, but it’s also a vital step to achieving company goals.
What is employee performance?
Put simply, employee performance is how a member of staff fulfills the duties of their role, completes required tasks and behaves in the workplace. Measurements of performance include the quality, quantity and efficiency of work.
When leaders monitor the performance of employees, they can paint a picture of how the business is running. This not only helps to highlight what companies could be doing in the present to improve their business, but this information also feeds into future growth plans.
However, placing a focus on employee performance doesn’t just benefit the business. It helps employees to reach their full potential, while also improving overall performance – which can have positive effects on morale and the quality of work produced.
Lastly, but most importantly, when employees are underperforming, customers may be dissatisfied. As a result, the entire business may be affected by poor performance and struggle to reach goals.
How is performance measured?
Every role is different so the metrics used to measure employee performance will ultimately depend on the type of business the company and its employees operate in.
But in general, the main ways to gauge performance are:
Quality of work
The Standard of work produced is a key indicator of performance. Are employees putting in maximum effort to ensure high-quality results? Are performance objectives being met? Quality of work provides the basis to analyse all other elements of their performance.
Speed and efficiency
Looking at how much employees accomplish in an average week, month or quarter, how does this match up to your expectations? Are deadlines met, vastly improved on, or is time wasted? Are corners being cut to produce work quickly? Efficiency is the result of maximum output at the least cost so this is vital to be aware of within your company.
Trust and consistency
Ask yourself if you trust your employees to do all their work to a high standard and deliver it on time. Do they work independently or do you feel that you often have to step in? Do they consistently display company values? Are they punctual and present to the expected standard? High-performing employees can be trusted with autonomy and continue to produce strong results without much supervision.
Keep these performance metrics in mind when conducting individual employee performance reviews.
How to evaluate employee performance
Performance reviews can be daunting, for both employees and managers – but they’re a necessary starting point.
Without proper evaluation of an individual employee’s performance, you may waste valuable time and effort implementing improvement plans that don’t begin to tackle the real problem. Take time during this stage to ensure that you get a complete and well-rounded review of the individual’s performance to provide a solid foundation for improvement plans.
Here are some popular ways to evaluate employee performance:
As the name suggests, this method takes a look at feedback, opinions and assessments from a circle of people. This includes team members, supervisors and others, that the employee works with within the company. By going beyond what the direct manager sees, you’re instead shown a well-rounded view of performance. Look for any similarities in the 360-degree feedback from the different areas, as this will identify areas for further improvement.
With this method, managers and employees work together to develop performance goals and set clear deadlines for completion. When employees are involved in the process of creating their objectives, they can see how their individual goals contribute to larger company goals. This creates more understanding of what needs to be done and why it’s important.
This method also helps to increase engagement and motivation for the employee while making it very easy to define success and failure for the employer.
A twist on the SWOT
Many will already be familiar with a SWOT analysis, but for performance evaluation, it’s best to swap ‘weakness’ with ‘areas for development. Think of ‘opportunities’ as future opportunities for the growth of your employees and their development within the company, too.
Starting with strengths allows managers, but also importantly, employees themselves to say what they feel they are good at – helping to indicate where employees might like to develop further. This method can also be a great way to find out if the employee feels that anything about the business is holding them back, or if they feel they are lacking important resources, for example.
By mapping out these different areas of performance, both the manager and employee can work together to create a plan for development.
Ranked performance on scales
A traditional method is using numbered scales, such as 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, to rank an employee’s performance in specific areas. These scales are commonly used as they’re easy to understand for both employees and managers, allow for easy comparison between team members, take little administration and can be adapted to any business needs. Managers or HR can set the criteria to be ranked – often including behaviours, aptitude or projects completed.
In this method, the employee judges their own performance against questions set by the employer. This method is most useful when used alongside a verbal performance review. Although some employees may find it difficult to know where they stand, when you can spot the difference between what the employee thinks of their own performance, and what you think – you will find some interesting points to discuss in the meeting. This method also helps employees to understand what the performance review will look like, which can ease any anxieties.