Performance standards – Rule or tool?

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I’m often asked, in my role as a performance strategist, “Should our organization have performance standards in place?” I usually I respond with a question of my own, “Why do you ask?” What follows is a lengthy explanation of why they feel standards would hamper employee performance and engagement.  This says a lot about our views of standards.  Here’s another question, if in fact the success of an organization is directly related to the performance, productivity and commitment of the employee – why would performance standards be a bad thing? While a job description tells us what to do, performance standards provide job function parameters.  Standards are observable behaviors and actions that can be measured and coached to. In other words, they tell the employee what doing a good job looks like. Are you still asking rule or tool? I think you can see where I’m going here.  I believe that when done well, performance standards are a tool that provides your team with the specifics around “how to win”. Let’s hope we’ve hired people with the drive and desire to do a good job and succeed everyday… if not, stop reading this and find an article on “how to hire better people”. Performance standards can very well become a set of rules if not set up correctly with a focus on your employee experience and your member experience.  Avoid these mistakes:Using job performance standards to micro-manage your teamImplementing new performance standards shortly before evaluationsNot keeping your performance standards updated and currentSetting unrealistic job performance standardsLimited creativity with tight performance standardsOn the flip side, if your team understands how to win, they also know where to focus their time and efforts to achieve your credit union’s objectives.Here are the top 6 reasons why performance standards are a highly effective tool:Provides your managers with a way to measure job performance and productivityAllows your employees to measure their own performance and productivityHelps your team understand the expected scope, key responsibilities, required knowledge, skills and duties of the jobSupports equitable evaluations of all employees in the same roleFacilitates communication between managers and employees regarding job related activitiesHelps managers ensure that employees have the resources necessary to do their jobs wellWhat happens without job performance standards?Managers and employees may have a very different understanding and expectation about job requirements and performanceManagers may have difficulty identifying performance issuesManagers and employees may have difficulty separating WHAT should be done from HOW it should be doneManagers tend to lower expectations to avoid confronting employees with performance issuesEmployees may protect themselves from possible failure by performing at a lower (more comfortable) levelManagers may coach and evaluate employees (doing the same job) differentlyWhere to start:Define specific performance standards and measurement criteriaIdentify the top 3-5 job responsibilitiesIdentify specific skills and knowledge needed to perform at a high levelEstablish a method to monitor performanceImplement standards at the beginning of an evaluation cycleSet short-term (90-day) AND long-term goalsDevelop a plan for managers and employees to communicate on a regular basis When done right, setting performance standards will increase understanding of organizational objectives, empowering your team to function at a higher level and at the same time build trust and commitment to your credit union goals. This all leads to growing enthusiasm, engagement and fun!To learn more about member experience strategies, employee engagement or organizational development, email jhitman@cuna.coop or call 608-231-4354.AUTHOR: Jayne Hitman, national relationship manager, CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™ last_img read more