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Employee Performance Management

How much did that guy pick?!? Is he pulling his weight? Is he making me money?

Is employee performance management about tracking productivity, or about making your employees more productive?

I think I can hear some of you saying, these are the same thing. I disagree, and here’s why.

Employee productivity is a metric. It is a measure of how many widgets did Sally pick. It is a blind metric, in that it doesn’t care how many interruptions she had, or if she had to stop and help Harry, or if her computer was having an issue. It is a very black and white metric that leads to one thing: Lower employee morale.

Initially the employer may see a small spike in productivity as the employees try to outdo each other in a friendly competition. Eventually, once the employees figure out that they do not have to do more work than the guy beside them, they will slow to meet that minimum standard enforced by you, the employer.

What about the worst possible scenario, in which the employer feels that all the employees are good for is; to meet that 100 widgets per hour. If Harry doesn’t want to do it, they will find another to take their place. So much for any expectation of loyalty.

Now let's look at Employee Performance Management.

Employee performance is something that is a lot harder to track, and a lot harder to manage. I read a quote recently: “there are always two choices, two paths to take. One is easy, and it's only reward is that it is easy.” That quote fits most aspects of our lives, but also fits this discussion perfectly. Employee performance management is not the easy path. It requires a longer commitment, and more effort. But the reward is where it's at.

Performance management is like measuring a properly prepared Key Performance Indicator (KPI). There are many smaller metrics that make up properly prepared KPI. If you measure each of these metrics separately, and work on improving them, the overall KPI improves.

The same is true with measuring employee performance, it is about providing tools, and a proper atmosphere to succeed, and removing roadblocks that prevent employees from succeeding.

There are many smaller metrics, smaller pieces that make up employee performance. Let's have a look at a few of them:

  1. Clear communication and expectations:

  • Do the employees actually know what you want them to do. Communication is hard to measure, but expectations are not. Did you meet them, yes or no? If not, was communication a contributing factor?

  1. Employee development:

  • Do your employees have the skills required to perform? If they learn new skills can they take on more responsibility?

  1. Improvement of morale:

  • Do the employees understand the companies vision?

  • Are the working conditions good (safe, clean, friendly)

  • Do you ask your employees what would make their work life better?

  1. Empower employees to do their jobs well:

  • Are the employees asked for suggestions, or input? Does the work environment promote such suggestions?

  • Are things that employees considered roadblocks dealt with and removed if necessary?

  1. Provide the right tools:

  • Do you require a WMS, or better computers?

  • Are your guys using an excel spreadsheet to track inventory in 2019?

  • Are your guys using a monkey wrench instead of a cordless driver?

  1. Feedback or appraisals done in a timely consistent manner:

  • Instead of an annual review, are you providing feedback and communication constantly throughout the year?

These are just a few things that when done right will create an atmosphere for performance. No longer do you have to measure the widgets picked, you have created an environment in which the employees want to succeed. When the employees succeed, so do you.

Instead of just measuring widgets picked, (productivity), manage your how to increase your employee performance. The result is happier, and engaged employees who will produce more than anyone who is under a minimum standard for picks.

"Progress Demands Change"



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