Employee Performance Measurements & Company Goals

Do you or any of your fellow employees know how your company measures success? If your like most people, the answer is “no”.  It is amazing to me how many people do not have clearly defined KPIs (key performance indicators) for their position. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I do think that most people know what their job is and how to do it, but is that really what is expected of them by their employer and how do they know if they have achieved success?

Believe it or not, this is often the case in many positions in every industry of corporate America. Often times the company does not even realize this gap until it is too late. Often times, even when the goals and KPIs are laid out in front of the employees, they are unsure of how what they do plays a part in achieving these goals.

Let’s just use the example of a company that wants to hire a Social Media Manager or Director of Digital Communication. Now, lets assume that when the company filled this position that they had a job description outlining the duties and responsibilities along with the skills, experience and education needed by candidates to apply for this position. Along comes Christina and all of her past experience, education and knowledge align perfectly with what is contained within the Job Description, so they hire her.

Christina begins her job by gathering all of the information she can about the company and promoting it to various different social media channels. Christina even comes up with new and innovative ideas for promoting the company by getting the word out about products, services, specials and other offerings that are available exclusively to social media customers. Is Christina doing  a good job? Is she hitting targets? Should she make more money? Less? Is she needed at all?

Without the company letting Christina know exactly what they consider success and what her KPIs are, how will she ever know her value to the company? And how will the company every realize her value or lack thereof to them? You may think that this is an extreme example or that a lot of details have been left out but this does happen every day, in various positions and job functions.

Wouldn’t it be better if the company outlined what the goals of the company are and what KPIs Christina is expected to meet to help reach those goals and on what timeline? For example;

Company Goals:

  • Increase revenue by 5% each quarter
  • Attain profit margin of 40% by years end
  • Decrease Advertising spend by 8%
  • Bring in 100 new customers per month

Christina’s Goals:

  • Establish company’s online identity in at least 1 new social media outlet a month
  • Work with sales team and manager to create specials for each new media outlet monthly
  • Generate at least $5k of new business each month
  • Bring in at least 30 new customers a month via new media outlet

In the above example you can see where Christina’s and the company’s goals and KPIs line up and it allows for a true measurement of Christina’s progress and performance. That is not where t should end though, the KPIs need to be reviewed at least monthly and adjusted as the results prove out from month to month. In this way you are not waiting for the end of the period to find out that the goals were not achievable or that Christina was no where close to achieving her goals due to performance issues. On top of all this you need to make sure that each KPI is measurable and know where the data will come from and how to validate the data.

So if you have a company and you are not hitting your targeted goals, then you may want to take a step back and ensure that your employees are working towards that same goal and not only are they working towards the same goal but do they know what that goal is and how they can impact it. I can not state emphatically enough that it is not good enough to just set the goals but also to revue the progress and ensure that each employee understands and are held accountable for what the measurements are and where they come from.

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1 Comment to “Employee Performance Measurements & Company Goals”

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  1. It might seem like I’m being subtle and contrarian, but we don’t measure success.

    Instead, we measure progress.

    The challenge with “measuring success”—which is well-illustrated by your examples—is that it is mostly outcome-oriented. If our goals are focused on outcomes, we find ourselves thinking about the final analysis rather than the experience of the journey.

    Look at Christina’s goals:

    * Establish company’s online identity in at least 1 new social media outlet a month

    Completing the technical requirement of this task is trivial. Setup an account, and you’re done. If her management team doesn’t really understand social media, this becomes another inane task of work.

    * Work with sales team and manager to create specials for each new media outlet monthly

    Again, the focus is on “new” rather than on “understanding.” If we’re adding 12 outlets per year, how well are we managing the ones that we had at the beginning?

    * Generate at least $5k of new business each month

    This is perhaps the most precise, and most critical goal. Once she reaches $5k, why continue looking for leads? And if the first three weeks pass without any new business, won’t Christina begin to neglect her other duties and start to pester customers and prospects just to meet this hurdle?

    * Bring in at least 30 new customers a month via new media outlet

    Again: How bad is 29?

    Instead, consider these process-oriented goals:

    * Analyze one new social media platform a month, and write an internal position statement
    ranking it’s value against other platforms. Use this ranking to decide which platforms to use next month.

    * Review sales specials from past month, and decide if they should be repeated. Design new specials if change is needed.

    * Review processes for revenue generation and tweak if needed. Monthly target is $5k, or 5% growth over previous month.

    * Measure customer growth in terms of per-capita size of each medium and length of presence. Make projections and adjust strategy accordingly.

    We’ve covered this topic extensively in our blog. See articles such as:

    http://www.slaughterdevelopment.com/2009/05/13/outcome-vs-process-thinking/

    Thanks for the chance to comment.

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