employee performance can be a tricky business.
While there are many schools of thought regarding
how to conduct the performance review,
most everyone agrees that a review must be conducted
regularly, and that some type of measurement must
be built into the system. If you don’t have the
measurement aspect in place, how do you know what
Jane, for example. She has worked for your company
for five years and is considered a loyal, good
employee who always gets her work done on time.
However, upon closer examination, you see that
her performance reviews or employee appraisals
are based only on surface details. Although she
asks for constant feedback, the only response
she gets is, “You’re doing fine,” or “Thanks very
who expect and want to succeed in a crowded business
marketplace want much more than simple feedback.
Naturally, they want to know how they’re doing
in their jobs in a general sense – “qualitative”
measurement – but also want to validate how they
contribute to the company’s bottom line – “quantitative”
qualitative part is easy. Does the employee show
up on time? Does he or she do what’s expected
of them? Do they have great ideas? Do they go
above and beyond the scope of their job?
measurement or measurement by numbers is much
more difficult, but is most commonly accomplished
by measuring performance to the company’s goals
or initiatives. For example, in a retail setting,
factors like total sales, number of satisfied
customers, number of retained customers and other
areas are measured. Most often, each industry
has certain performance measures, which impact
a company’s bottom line. Each offers many opportunities
to measure – and increase – performance. Each
company has different factors, tasks or activities
with regard to what is measured, so there is no
book to follow in order to create these measures.
Some industries that respond well to performance
measures, include health care, auto dealerships,
retail and manufacturing, just to name a few.
greater key to quantitative measurement lies in
how you do it. Think about it: can you get excited
by being held accountable to find five new prospects
in any one month?
is the answer, and performance measurement should
be fun. Here are a few examples in which “numbers”
were mixed with “creativity.”
Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., incorporated
a sport’s theme into the way its staff handled
new student admissions. March Madness is the familiar
term for the NCAA Basketball Tournament in which
sets of college teams compete for the national
title. The theme not only emphasized the college’s
passion for the game; it also described the fervor
of activity each spring when prospective students
inundate the school with applications for admission
– hence the term, “madness.”
on the theme, the performance measurement culture
incorporated feedback into the office’s daily
activities – with huge success. The project began
in the office mailroom where weekly performance
feedback was having little, if any, impact on
performance. To communicate accomplishments, the
staff was content with posting a small, black-and-white
line graph that detailed the staff’s performance.
This provided group feedback and was updated weekly.
Employees and supervisors paid no attention to
the graph, and performance failed to improve.
was born! Based on the March Madness theme, the
feedback graph was enlarged to a poster-sized,
color chart with balls and hoops as symbols in
place of bullets and plotlines. Think of USA
Today’s graphs and charts as examples. Just
this simple, small change resulted in increased
interest in feedback and performance, additional
ideas for process improvements, added social recognition
and reinforcement, and improved performance.
it might be considered a qualitative measurement,
absenteeism in business is a very real, valid
concern. Not only are employees evaluated by the
number of days missed, but absenteeism contributes
to loss profits. According to NovantHealth, 15
percent of the work force causes 90 percent of
absenteeism. Emotional factors account for 61
percent of time lost, and the typical employee
is absent eight days per year. Absenteeism costs
employers 1.75 percent of an absent employee's
wages, and companies spend 5.6 percent of their
payroll on absenteeism.
statistics like these, you should be concerned,
but what can you do to motivate employees and
prevent absenteeism? Be creative!
large hardware company introduced a lottery to
reduce absenteeism. Only employees with no absenteeism
for one month could participate. In every department,
participants could win prices, such as a television,
a bicycle and other gifts. Although some may consider
this an isolated example, the results speak for
themselves: there was a 75 percent reduction
in absenteeism and a 62 percent reduction
company tried to find the answer through a game
of non-gambling poker. Every day, employees who
were at work drew one card, and those who worked
the entire week drew five cards on Friday. The
player with the best hand won $20. Due to this
game, absenteeism lowered to 18.2 percent, and
even when the game was played less frequently,
absenteeism remained lower than previous numbers.
These Ideas to Your Company
examples illustrate creativity, but what can you
do in your own company to make performance measurement
by creating an employee committee to brainstorm
ideas and submit three to five well-thought-out
examples of games, contests or strategies.
Just the idea of asking for employee participation
is a positive step in itself, and once the
ideas start flowing, they never stop. Even
if your company is small, you still can ask
two employees to form a team and come up with
baby steps. The old adage, “Walk before
you run” is valid. Begin these kinds of measurement
programs on a small scale without spending
too much time in the planning and implementation
stages. If something takes up too much time
and you’ve lost productivity due to trying
to be more creative than you need to be, the
effort is a non-issue.
Outside the Norm. Just because you have
a professional image doesn’t mean you can’t
do something out of the ordinary. Again, the
object is to be as creative as possible.
all, assess your creativity and performance
measurement techniques on a regular basis,
or measure the measurement. Without some kind
of evaluation built into the activity, you
won’t know whether you succeeded and can’t
figure out how improve for the future.
ensure your creative passions align with performance
measures that will positively affect your company’s
profits, contact your business performance advisor