Measuring up: Performance in the workplace

Monitoring and measurement of employee performance is the phase in the performance management cycle where both endurance and consistency is required. How can business leaders ensure they are doing this productively? By John McGill.

Performance management is at the heart of an employment relationship. Put simply, the employer wants a job done to an appropriate standard and is prepared to pay for it, while the employee has their own motivations around remuneration and career ambitions.

These two parties come together in the realm of performance management. There is nothing more critical to the employment relationship than the understanding between what is expected and what work is carried out.

As such, every business needs to be monitoring and measuring performance correctly.

Improving performance management

Performance management is all about communication. Performance management processes have struggled to advance in New Zealand, however, it’s not a lost cause. Good performance monitoring and measuring highlights ongoing elements for organisations to consider – levels of competency, training requirements and remuneration expectations.

These all combine to give business leaders a more holistic overview of how their systems are running and are complementary to the assessment of actual work performed.

This all starts with a conversation.

Current thinking puts a lot of emphasis on regular communication rather than simply filling in forms and ticking boxes, processes we became over-reliant on.

It’s about an understanding between the parties concerned and regular reviews of that understanding – how the employee is finding the role, what’s easy/hard, what improvements they foresee and how they feel about their daily work and the organisation.


Telling people if they’re doing a good job or not

If employees don’t have a good relationship with the organisation or their work, this can quickly make people alienated from the workplace. This can not only affect the performance and engagement of the individual, but this sentiment can spread to other employees.

Managers have the job of telling people if they’re doing a good job or not. The ability of management to deliver a message, keep the motivation of the individual up and improve the overall situation is critical.

We believe there is an essential link between performance and reward. An effective performance development and management process should develop employees’ understanding of what needs to be achieved, help them to improve organisational performance and reward them on the basis of their contribution.

How does an employee know they are doing a good job or meeting the expectations of their employer? While having conversations is a great start, the devil, as noted, is in the detail of the process and management of expectations.

It’s vital for the two parties to set targets, standards and disciplines so the employee understands what they have to achieve to meet certain parameters.

Employees need to know what is expected of them. That said, there is a pace of change in the New Zealand economy which is affecting the structure of industries and how jobs are performed.

In the dynamic IT industry, for example, technology is constantly advancing so employees will need to be retrained to meet the expectations of the job.

These might be quarter-to-quarter changes or even year-to-year, but employees have to be aware of what is happening in the general market and ensure their performance management systems are appropriately reflective.


John McGill is the CEO at Strategic Pay. The team at Strategic Pay can help
organisations put together performance management tools and processes across the employment relationship – when people are hired, ongoing performance reviews and when people depart.

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