Top Ten Tips for Measuring Performance in your Business

You can't manage what you can't measure, as the saying goes, and this applies just as much to your team's performance. Here are ten top tips on measuring performance – from weekly catch ups to appraisal processes.

  1. Know your business vision, your values and your strategic goals Where do you see your business in the future, what values matter to you and are they being displayed within your team? What are your goals for the business?

  2. Communicate your vision Let your team know how their contribution adds value to the business. If your team currently don’t have position descriptions, get the team involved in creating these – they can tell you what they are doing at operational, hands on level. You as the business owner and/or manager can then determine if what they are doing is appropriate for realising the business vision. When teams have been asked to prepare their own position descriptions, business owners are often astounded by what their employees are actually doing day-to-day.

  3. Review your position descriptions and focus on your business objectives Each job function should have an accountability and there should be key performance indicators in each position description (around three to five), all of which should be focused on helping you achieve your business objectives.

  4. Induction plans and follow ups All new employees should have a full induction/on-boarding process and follow up with their line manager at the end of the first day, first week, first month, second month and third month. Review the new employee’s performance in line with their position description, targets and expectations. Give feedback to the employee and address poor performance immediately.

  5. Have weekly catch ups Meet with your direct reports and make sure that others with direct reports are doing the same. These meetings should be focused on what the employee is working on, barriers/challenges, assistance they may need, any issues that they have encountered since the previous catch up.

  6. Quarterly reviews These are a good opportunity to set goals with your team, helping them to work on new challenges and helping you to get to know them better professionally and on a more personal level – set challenges that are professionally focused i.e. learning a new system, mentoring a more junior team member; and personally focused i.e. training for a half marathon etc.

  7. Annual appraisal and performance development plans These could take place at a specific time each year or on the anniversary of an employee’s employment with the business; either way, they should give feedback on position competencies and key performance areas. These reviews also provide an opportunity to learn how employees want to develop and even let you know how things could be improved. Details from the quarterly reviews will support the completion of these documents. It is often at the time of the annual review that negotiations will occur on pay rises and performance bonuses. If you will have been keeping an accurate record of performance throughout the year, it should be easy to identify who has performed exceptionally, average or poorly and who, therefore, should be getting rewarded (or not).

  8. Poor performance Monitor it and don’t ignore it. If an employee is performing poorly it may be for a number of reasons, they may have personal issues which are impacting on them in the work place; they may be struggling to do a particular task and need further training; or they may not have the capability to actually do the required job function; whatever the reason, poor performance should be addressed, thus enabling you to support the employee and find the best solution to resolve the issue, depending on the circumstances.

  9. Review your business objectives Do this on a quarterly basis and ask yourself how you are performing as a business in relation to these, and if something needs tweaking with your team to help you better achieve these goals, make the necessary changes – be guided by your goals and results relating to performance, productivity and profitability.

  10. Remember ‘what gets measured gets done’ Knowing what is measured gives you and your employee’s direction. Give yourself and your team accountabilities, then continue to measure and review these.