Are the Metrics You’re Using for Performance Reviews the Right Ones?
The value of performance reviews has skyrocketed with the sudden increase in employees working from home. Remote performance evaluations can be complicated, as they present barriers that can make it difficult to gauge exactly how an employee is performing compared to the team and workforce as a whole.
While frequent one-on-one meetings, transparency, and the use of productivity intelligence tools can go a long way in overcoming many of these challenges, remote performance evaluations are still a complex affair.
The idea of remote performance evaluations are a new phenomenon to many businesses, meaning that management might not be using the correct performance metrics to evaluate their remote employees - what good is a performance evaluation if you aren’t looking for the right performance indicators? In order to maximize the value and effectiveness of employee performance reviews, especially in an increasingly remote climate, you need to know exactly what to look for and how to measure it.
Quality of work vs. quantity of work
The reality of the situation is that remote work is far more flexible than the traditional office environment, as it should be. The benefits of remote work speak for themselves, allowing employees to work productively while at the same time improving work-life balance significantly. The point is that when evaluating your remote employees, the most important metric to consider isn’t simply screen time - there are just too many distractions at home to rely on this as an accurate view into your employee’s performance. Instead, your review should be based largely on the overall quality of their work and how they handle the quantity of work they’re given.
Quality of work is quite possibly the most important metric to look for in measuring performance - what good is a hyper-efficient employee who constantly puts out bad to mediocre level work? Poor quality, especially when it’s consistent, leads to inferior products or services, which eventually results in lost customers. High quality has the opposite effect - it improves customer retention, increases trust in your brand, and increases sales and revenue for your business.
Quality can be measured via customer satisfaction surveys, by analyzing the outcomes of projects and campaigns, and determining the amount of errors or complaints associated with an employee’s work. Employees whose quality of work has remained consistent, or even improved, during the COVID-19 pandemic should be acknowledged and rewarded during performance reviews, and poor quality of work should be one of the most major issues to address.
Quantity of work is another crucial metric, and thankfully, it’s far easier to measure than quality. Quantity shouldn’t control the entirety of a performance review, but it does play a big part in quality of work - the biggest thing you’ll be looking for is how quantity affects your employees and their quality of work. Some employees will be able to consistently put out high quality work while taking on higher quantities of work, while others are better suited to a lessened workload in order to consistently put out high quality work.
This metric can be based on whatever department an employee is in, whether it’s sales (amount of revenue, leads or conversions, for example), customer service (things like number of calls taken and difficult situations resolved), marketing (i.e. campaigns completed), and can simply be the amount of tasks completed or active projects. If, during your performance review, you notice that employees are being bogged down or are struggling with their quantity of work, your follow up should include changes that help to retain a high quality of work.
How efficient are your employees?
With quality and quantity in mind, it’s crucial to look at employee efficiency. This will tell you once quality and quantity have been considered, how much an employee is getting out of the amount they’re putting in. This metric is extremely important to the overall success of your business - if your team isn’t working efficiently, something is amiss and must be addressed immediately in order for your business to benefit from the high quality and quantity of work being put in.
Efficiency can be measured in a number of ways, including measuring the output of an employee over a given period of time and comparing it to the average output of your workforce. This will offer a benchmark and show you whether the employee is above or below average. You can also factor in other things like how much overtime an employee is working, their turnaround time for projects, and the amount of errors in their work.
Don’t just focus on outcomes
While measuring things like quality, quantity, and efficiency are crucial to an effective performance review, there are many metrics that aren’t based on outcomes that are also extremely valuable. These can include things like initiative, where employers measure how often employees go above and beyond for their clients and colleagues, or if they step into challenging situations willingly. Employees who show initiative are far more likely to be engaged in your business and satisfied in their roles.
An employee who often takes initiative is valuable, even if their quality of work is lacking. Quality can be improved through coaching, whereas initiative is something that can’t be easily taught or coached - it has to come from within a motivated employee. Initiative also allows employees to learn from situations when they take initiative and the outcome isn’t what they hoped - these are valuable learning opportunities and go a long way in shaping an employee, regardless of the outcome.
Another important metric you need to be measuring during performance reviews - especially for remote workers - is engagement. Engaged employees will be those who participate in conference calls and chats, whose performance has not changed significantly since the jump to working from home, and who are not showing signs of burnout.
An engaged employee is a productive and satisfied employee, and one who consistently brings value to the business. If an employee isn’t engaged, there’s a chance that they’re dealing with some level of stress which you’ll need to address. This can be done by reducing workload, giving them time off, reshaping workplace teams, or meeting with them one-on-one to listen to and attempt to solve problems.
Addressing engagement problems will ensure that employees can become more productive and efficient, and will greatly reduce employee turnover. Engagement can be measured through productivity intelligence tools like Prodoscore, which gives you visibility into employee productivity within business applications like your office suite, CRM solution, communications tools, and more. Each employee is assigned a unique productivity score that allows you to track things like productivity and engagement over time, giving you an opportunity to intervene before employees burn out or become disengaged.
Performance reviews are more important now than ever before. In addition to measuring department-specific metrics like sales revenue or support tickets, you need to be looking at overall quality of work, quantity of work, efficiency, as well as less quantifiable metrics like initiative and engagement. Knowing what to look for helps ensure that your workforce is as productive and effective as possible, improving performance, increasing workplace satisfaction, and reducing turnover in the process.