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Removing The 'Threat' Of Performance Measurement

Wednesday 20 February, 2008
If the employee benefits from performance monitoring, the job wins and your company gains too. All three of these positives can be realised by any willing manager!

 Two performance-monitoring methods that don't work, in our opinion, are:

  • Seat-of-the-pants approach

    There is not much good to say about being on the wrong end of an intuitive decision about a person's performance. This subjective assessment: "You're not doing your job. Get outta here!" probably represents the monitoring means for about 80% of businesses. Not very exciting for the employee.
  • Convoluted approach

    Large companies, in an attempt to be progressive, reach out to well-established performance consultants who carry-out in-depth analyses of the firm. The consultants' complex methodologies for performance measurement, developed by respected performance gurus, often result in a mass of details that are difficult to relate to by the average worker. Huge amounts of information often leave both the manager and the employee confused.

    "The data is there but I don't know what to do with it", says the manager."This makes no sense to me or my job", gripes the employee. Unfortunately, this top-down management approach has this sort of predictable outcome.

    Every employee knows that - but ‘management' remains in an ambivalent fog: "I'm unclear how to use it, but it must be good - I paid a lot for these experts". There is a maxim: A true expert can explain complex things in a very simple way.

The smarter approach

An enlightened approach to job measurement is based on the belief that employees within a company can be motivated to move into the excited-about-the-job category by applying the right measurements for each employee.

By having each employee answer the following questions, a partnership can be developed between employee and manager:

  • What they do
  • Why they do it
  • What are the priorities
  • Who they are trying to please
  • What, in their minds, constitutes success or failure at that task

The employee sets the bar - and keeps raising the bar - because this newer form of working has them competing against the most formidable opponent possible - themselves. They then assume the role of owner of the job versus tenant in the job.

Often for the first time, the employee knows the results that they are supposed to get - and becomes liberated by it. And if their reward system ties directly into this, everyone wins. How?

For starters, employees become motivated, they want to do a good job, to exceed those goals they set for themselves, and more importantly want to stick around.

Being able to retain your employees not only saves you the high cost of replacement testing and training, it also generates increased company performance results as these employees move into a higher productive bracket.

A second feature of this approach, is that it makes it startlingly evident to people who cannot perform in the company's, or that particular job's, environment, that they should move on. They leave on their own - no awkwardness, no severances, no hard feeling, no prolonged re-approvals. Again money is saved.

And everyone's a winner!

Author Credits

Bill Caswell, B. Eng., P. Eng., was founder of three high technology enterprises including SPS information technology part of a $1 billion conglomerate located in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Seattle and Guadalajara Mexico. As a design engineer, Bill has inventions in the radar and process instrumentation domains and he helped launch 200 scientific rockets per year into the upper atmosphere under contract to NASA. He is the author of The Respect Revolution, a 12-book series written by a CEO for CEOs, a guide to getting companies to Excellence. Caswell Corporate Coaching Company (CCCC) guides management teams down the clear path to making self-designed improvements with an emphasis on Accountability http://www.caswellccc.com
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