Performance Appraisal Goals & Measures

Performance goals and performance measures are terms used interchangeably; however, they can have very different meanings depending on the type of performance management system your organization uses, the type of business or industry you operate, or the work environment and composition of your work force.

Many bosses and subordinates dread annual reviews, points out Inc. magazine, so using objective performance standards can make things easier. Reviewing how to measure employee performance will help you create better reviews.

Performance Management Systems

Performance management systems refer to the entire program a business develops to determine if the right employees are suited for the jobs they perform to help you achieve organizational success. Suitability for the position obviously begins with the selection process. For this reason, a performance management system becomes a part of the employee assessment from the day your employee begins working for you.

The several types of performance management systems include 360 degree feedback, forced distribution or ranking, self-evaluation and evaluations based solely on productivity. The 360 degree method uses input from a variety or managers, subordinates and peers, explains Custom

The appropriate performance management system for your organization may be one of these or a combination of two or more that your human resources leader believes will be effective and well-received by your work force. Learning how to measure performance in an organization will take some trial-and-error work as you fine-tune your methods.

Right Performance Management System

During the recruitment and selection process for some positions, potential employers sometimes ask candidates about previous performance appraisals. The interviewer may ask questions about how well the candidate performed at her previous job, or what method her previous employer used to evaluate her performance. This type of information is useful in determining types of appraisal methods your employees are accustomed to, and whether they believed the prior method effectively evaluated their job performance.

Forced Distribution Goals And Measurements

Performance management systems based on forced distribution are generally reserved for large corporations where work force numbers reach the thousands. It's a method that categorizes employees into three groups – those who perform well, employees whose performance is rated average, and the "bottom 10" as is referred in former General Electric CEO Jack Welch's book "Winning."

A small business is unlikely to benefit from a forced distribution system because of the systematic approach to rating employees. Small businesses usually don't have the number of employees required to justify using a highly structured appraisal system, such as forced distribution. The goals and measures of this type of evaluation system are based on a combination of overall business objectives and how well the employee is helping the company meet those objectives.

Interactive, Self-Evaluation Goals And Measurements

A smaller work force would more likely benefit from a performance management system that enables employees and managers to interact in a casual, informal manner where an actual conversation ensues concerning the employee's performance when compared with the employer's expectations. Types of performance evaluations that allow this type of interaction may involve a self-evaluation component.

The employee is provided with the guidelines for evaluating his performance over the past year and then a conversation between the employee and manager takes place during the performance appraisal meeting. This is an ideal way to compare two perspectives about performance and reach mutual agreement about achievements, upcoming goals and how the performance measurements are related to company and individual goals.

Performance Management Fundamentals

The fundamentals of the performance management systems described are performance standards, goals and measurements. It is entirely appropriate to determine the type of performance management system your work force needs, and subsequently develop the standards and goals.

Your initial step is selecting the type of performance management method best suited and review the positions or jobs ideal for evaluation via the method you select. You may want to establish different goals for your sales force than you will for your production department. In addition, the performance standards for administrative staff may be very different than standards for technical workers.

Developing performance goals, standards and measurements require the expertise of a seasoned human resources leader and the support of your executive leadership team. You will also need an HR specialist who is well-versed in training supervisors and managers on how to use the method effectively.