Employee Performance: Don't Forget to Measure, Measure, Measure

Chris Young
November 11, 2009 — 2,794 views  
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Employee performance seems to be one of those "assumed things".  We assume that if the work is getting done satisfactorily that an employee is performing well.  But how well is the employee really performing, and even more importantly, is this employee really performing up to the full potential of the job?

How does one measure the value a team member is adding or destroying?  It is sometimes quite easy and at the same time very difficult to measure.  In sales-driven situations, employee performance is quite easy to observe and measure.  In Customer Service situations, the evidence often lies hidden in dissatisfied Customers that leave silently and never return.

As one can imagine, data can be difficult to come by, but it is often available if one asks the right questions.  Sales teams often have the best data sets for obvious reasons.  Sales people are the "tip of the spear" and can cost a lot due to their compensation structure.  Plus...  Many sales organizations motivate performance through variable compensation.  Therefore, the data is usually somewhere.

Other positions can pose challenges to measuring employee value added, however if the position was important enough to create in the first place, you will be able to find the value it adds to your organization.  Regardless of how easy or how difficult it is to measure an employee's performance, it is absolutely critical that a manager be able to quantify and verify the value an employee brings to the organization.

The sad truth is that companies and managers often think they know who their high performers are, but fail to adequately measure what their performance really is.  Instead they rely on anecdotal evidence, organizational politics, and biased perceptions to judge performance. 

Measure Key employee performance point - Always know the value your employee team members are adding.  Regardless of the position, or how difficult it might seem to measure and analyze results, this must be done. No exceptions. Period.

Create score cards in order to track the value added in order to identify trends and problems before they become big issues.  Employee score cards should reflect the 3-5 key accountabilities necessary to do the job well.  A good way to identify key accountabilities is to Benchmark the Job.  If you'd like, feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to share some best practices on Job Benchmarking.

Something to consider about employee performance...  Over the years, I have discovered some interesting performance trends with regard to high and low sales performers.

  • Low performers (bottom 20 percent) typically produce between 10 and 50 percent of the high performers (top 20 percent).  The typical performance gap between the top and bottom 20 percent is way too high. 

  • Companies hang on to their low performers way too long.  It amazes me.  Companies often love their low performers way too much.  The result is companies leave opportunity on the table - the bottom line is reduced as a result.

Final thoughts: measuring employee performance is far too important to ignore - regardless of how difficult or inconvenient it may seem.  I challenge you to take a good look at the way you measure your team members' performance and carefully consider what you need to do to better understand the true value an employee brings to your organization.

What should every company do as part of their Talent Management Strategy?

Now go Maximize Possibility!

Chris Young


The Rainmaker Group is a human talent maximization company specializing in helping organization maximize their bottom lines by improving employee retention, hiring the best talent possible, and strategic talent management and coaching services. From the Fortune 50 corporation to the small medical office, The Rainmaker Group guarantees lasting organizational change via a unique blend of energy, insight, and science to maximize talent, transform organizational culture, and provide strategic intervention.