Let's Give Them Something To Talk About
by Peter Block
Sorry We're Closed: Diary of A Shutdown
There is an important message in that employee’s comment. When you establish the metrics and commence measuring, you are sending clear signals to the people being measured about what is important to management, and therefore what should be important to them. So be careful of the messages you send; make sure they are the right messages and that they are aligned with your organization’s values, goals and expectations.
Since measurements have such potential for affecting behavior, they need to be balanced. Even a .400 hitter would be of questionable value if he or she only showed up for half of the games, or was unable to catch a ball. Hence, the increasing interest in “Balanced Scorecards” which define a diverse and balanced set of goals and only then identify the metrics for tracking performance against those goals.
A good portion of the work in engineering and software development organizations is project- driven. Many such firms require “value propositions” on each project for which funding and approval is sought. The value proposition defines expected outcomes and the economic value of each. They use the language of senior management: dollars. Unfortunately, many value propositions are sales puffery, “pie-in-the-sky” goals which are rarely measured and seldom met. A truly “leading practice” is to create meaningful value propositions, and to establish clear metrics with which to track each defined project outcome. With that foundation, one of the powerful measures of employee performance is their contribution to achieving the value proposition.
Leading practices regarding employee performance frequently start by distinguishing customer-related measurements from those that are internal and business focused. Customer-focused measurements are driven by identifying all stakeholders, internal and external, and establishing their needs and expectations. All points of contact are identified, as are what is delivered at each, and the customer’s needs and expectations regarding both contact and delivery.
Customer satisfaction measures should be included in the balanced portfolio for employees who have direct contact with external customers. For others, internal customer survey results, peer input to performance ratings, and objective measures of meeting agreed-upon specifications have all been used effectively to measure internal customer satisfaction.
As a Process Improvement Manager, you
are quite familiar with the ways processes are measured.
Many process measurements can also apply to employee
performance. Consider these possibilities:
I’d like to close with two