Measuring Employee Performance: Things to Consider

Measuring employee performance is a lot trickier than it was a few decades ago, when the core metric was how many widgets were produced in a given timeframe. Today, managers are faced with conducting a performance review that factors in a wide range of criteria, many of which are intangible.
Factors to consider when measuring employee performance
While employee performance metrics can be both qualitative and quantitative (and often subjective), employees should be evaluated using:
  • Corporate KPIs - are they helping the company work toward its defined and communicated objectives?
  • Individual goals - how do they track against sales quotas and other goals specific to their role?
  • Effectiveness / quality of work - is the work that is being produced done in a timely manner, with minimal errors, or are revisions and delays the norm?
  • Willingness to learn - no one is exempt from having to evolve with industry and tech trends. Do they resist or welcome the opportunity to learn and develop new skills necessary to be successful?
  • Attendance - this may seem like a grade-school metric, but attendance can tell a lot about how engaged an employee may be. Are they always calling in sick or coming in late to meetings, or are they always on time and prepared for the task at hand?
  • 360° input - it’s difficult for managers of larger teams to keep an eye on day-to-day employee performance. One way to ensure a more holistic employee evaluation is for managers to seek input from a wide range of sources, including:
    • Employee - self-evaluations can be very telling and provide managers with the insights to help calibrate any differences between how workers think they are doing and reality.
    • Peers - whether it’s a simple skill assessment or input from colleagues who worked together on specific projects, peers can provide valuable insight, including any behavioral issues managers may not see.
    • Clients - it’s not recommended to ask clients to review an employee, but if a client has provided compliments or complaints, these need to be taken into account during the employee performance evaluation.
Because no single metric can provide a comprehensive measure of employee performance, it’s best to develop a performance management strategy that incorporates various inputs to help managers measure not just productivity, but engagement.
Start with regular check-ins, but schedule a separate compensation discussion
The shift from annual performance reviews to regular employee reviews, or check-ins can provide the opportunity for valuable, two-way input, but when it comes time to review for a possible compensation increase, a separate meeting should be set.
This meeting should be a natural extension of the ongoing dialogue between managers and employees regarding short- and long-term goals and areas of improvement. Nothing should come as a surprise since issues and opportunities have been discussed all along the way.