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A company is only as good as the talent behind it. Consistently and accurately evaluating employee performance is essential not only to individual success, but to the overall success of an organization.

That being the case, you’d think more companies would actively measure employee performance. However, the 2014 Global Assessment Trends Report from CEB found only half of respondents use talent metrics to prove ROI, and only 45 percent currently use objective measures of potential to guide development and succession plans.

The question is, how exactly do you measure employee performance?

Many companies tend to take the more-is-better approach when it comes to evaluating employee performance, measuring performance across a wide (often too wide) range of qualities, skills, competencies, etc. But where employee performance metrics are concerned, less is more.

In an effort to accurately gauge the performance level of your employees, consider scaling down from too many sub-par measurements to these four tried-and-true talent metrics:

1. Quality of Work

Quality trumps quantity—especially when you consider employee productivity. Sure, meeting deadlines is important and does reflect on individual performance, but if what’s being produced is of lower quality, meeting deadlines takes a back seat.

How to measure: Measuring quality of work is subjective. What and how you measure is very dependent on the industry you’re in and the specific duties and tasks of the employee. One thing to consider, however, is the percentage of work output that is rejected or must be redone. With talent management software, like onboarding for new hires or 360-degree performance reviews for existing staff, you can gain more insight on individual performance.

2. Employee efficiency

An efficient employee is able to maximize their productivity with minimum effort or expense. Costly mistakes are few and far between, deadlines are met and quality of work is not sacrificed. Simply put, they get the job done.

How to measure: To measure individual efficiency, try conducting team assessments. Team assessments can provide an in-depth evaluation of a team’s ability to meet goals, as well as identify challenges. Additionally, communicating with the people who an employee works with on a day-to-day basis can give you valuable insight on how an employee is performing—insight you might not otherwise get.

3. Training programs

Invest in your employees, and they’ll invest in you—it’s that simple. Training programs are essential to help employees grow professionally and reach peak performance.

However, providing formal training, attending professional development events, bringing in industry leaders for lunch-and-learns, and other such employee development opportunities can be costly. And training for training’s sake is not a wise use of resources. Fortunately, the success of those development opportunities can be argued via their return on investment.

How to measure: The most obvious metric to measure when it comes to training programs is participation. How many employees are attending these lunch-and-learns or opting to receive formal training?

Then consider the outcome of those training programs. Are employees applying what they learned to their work? Follow-up with individual employees before and after training programs to better assess their effectiveness.

4. Individual goals

Employee goals speak for themselves. Whether or not an employee is meeting their individual work goals can tell you a lot about how they’re performing, even if you’re not able to interact with them on a daily basis. To gain the most insight on employee performance via individual work goals, help your employees set goals that are measurable and timely (i.e. set realistic, quarterly goals).

How to measure: The best time to discuss individual work goals is during performance appraisals. Scratch the annual performance review and, instead, meet with the employee in a casual, one-on-one setting on a quarterly basis. During this time, evaluate employee goal-setting and achievements.



Matt Straz is the founder & CEO of Namely, the HR and payroll platform for the world’s most exciting companies. Connect with Matt and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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