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Don’t be afraid of introducing employee performance measurements

This is why many businesses use performance measurements in areas such as sales or accounts, but they ultimately fail to use them in other crucial areas.

Customer measurements and feedback can play a vital part in your performance management. Although Jane my be fun in the office, if she goes down like a lump of lead with your customers, she is doing you no favours. Comparisons to businesss like yours can also be useful.

Performance measurements without targets are valueless. The facts have to be measurable and quantifiable, and set against your own businesss KPIs and key drivers. What matters in one business will be barely relevant in another. Never fall into the measurements for measurements sake trap. And it goes without saying that the targets should be SMART.

Other businesses collect reams of data and file it away. Unused, un-fed back performance measurement is pointless. Once a year appraisals do not make engaged staff, and although weekly feedback on clear performance measurements may not do the trick either, they make a sound and balanced starting point.

The real challenge is to introduce them and to get people on side with them. The benefits to the company are obvious: we can control our businesses better; we can forecast better; there are massive HR benefits in that we have facts and figures which can be substantiated and therefore any performance problems can be justified. 

People, however, are less receptive. It is easy enough to run a workforce accustomed to these measurements. New staff from other companies that have equally tight measures accept same with little question. It is the transition phase of moving people onto such a scheme which can cause ructions.

Based on my own experiences, introducing tight performance measures can cause abrupt voluntary exits some expected and others less so. Others remain and rile against the injustice of being held accountable, trying every failing excuse against hard evidence and becoming more resentful by the minute. What may seem to you as a fairer system, which it genuinely is given the SME owner can easily be guided by an inaccurate gut, will be greeted loudly as un-just.

You have to stick to your guns. The people who resent these measurements only do so because their performance is revealed and that performance is clearly going to be at a level your business can do without.

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