A performance measure is a quantification that provides objective evidence of the degree to which a performance result is occurring over time. There are many definitions of performance measures, but this one accurately and broadly elucidates the meaning of the concept. In long term-projects, even short-term ones, it is imperative to have a system through which results are measurable. For this reason, performance measures are quite necessary.
Specific Advantages of Performance Measures
- Productivity Increase: One great advantage of having performance measures is that it increases productivity in any given task or project, especially in a team.
- Setting Standards: Performance measures can be instrumental in setting standards. For instance, by measuring performance, a person would know how much they can achieve over a given period of time. The assessment of this ability can help set the standard the next time the said task is performed in the same organization or a different one.
- Determining Strength and Weaknesses: In an organization, setting up measures to track the performance of different tasks will help to determine which tasks employees are better at. This is a great way to foster specialization and division of labor; ultimately leading to effectiveness and productivity.
- Supports Communication: Having metrics to measure performance ensures that individuals in an organization are more transparent and work as a team.
Types of Performance Measures
There are different types of performance measures. All these measures could provide a relatively accurate description of results. They can be categorized into the following: input measures, output measures, outcome measures, efficiency measures, and explanatory information.
- Input Measures: Input measures comprise the resources consumed by a project such as the money and time spent. For instance, if the employers in a firm work an eight-hour shift daily, it makes up part of the input measures.
- Output Measures: Output measures can be very clear. They simply depict the amount of work that has been executed as a result of the input. Comparing the present output with the former one can be instrumental in measuring standards and how employers work in different circumstances. Output measures usually consist simply of numerical values.
- Efficiency Measures: Efficiency is depicted by the amount of work performed compared to the number of resources used in doing the work. It is expressed in units. Efficiency measures are not always very effective because there are usually a lot of factors affecting performance other than the variables involved in efficiency measures
- Explanatory Information: Explanatory information simply involves other factors that affect the performance of an organization in any given situation. These factors might include environmental factors, incentives, the motivation of workers, etc.
Processes and Steps involved in Creating Performance Measures
The process of developing performance measures can involve many steps. Many different experts have propounded several theories to achieving this result. Here are some of the most important activities to engage in to arrive at a reliable measurement of performance in the long run.
1. Collecting Stakeholder Information
The developmental point of collecting performance postulates that the information and opinions of the stakeholders involved in the process are collected. Cambridge Dictionary explicitly defines a stakeholder as a person such as an employee, customer, or citizen who is involved with an organization, society, etc., and therefore has responsibilities towards it and an interest in its success. The list of stakeholders includes the following people:
- Members of staff at all levels.
- The customers or clients of the organization. If it is a public office, the information should be collected from the people being served.
- Policymakers; are the people at the helm of affairs whose decisions affect the running of the organization.
- The financiers of the service or the organization.
- The evaluators of the activities of the organization.
This step is necessary because your stakeholders are the people who are most interested in the activities and success of your organization. Their opinions and suggestions are important to the running of the organization. Also, collecting stakeholder information helps you to know what they want from you. Through this, you can streamline your objectives and measure performance according to them.
2. Incorporate Various Types of Performance Measures
To arrive at a holistic evaluation of the performance of the people/persons in a task, the types of performance measures listed above should be incorporated into your performance measurement. Nevertheless, this depends on a few other factors such as the type of project being executed. For instance, a holistic approach is not paramount if the task being carried out only affects one small unit of the organization.
3. Promote Top Leadership Support
There is a high tendency that lower-level staff in an organization will not be in support of performance measures. Therefore, the topmost leaders have to regularly encourage the use of performance measures and bring the other staff members on board. If feasible, the leaders should also be subject to performance measures like the mid-level staff and other personnel. This exemplary effort will ensure that other staff members feel more comfortable in the use of performance measures to evaluate their work.
4. Establish Long-term Goals and Objectives
Goal-setting is arguably the most important part of developing measures. What is the end goal of the project that your organization is involved in? By identifying these, you can develop measures that particularly check for them. Most projects in which performance is measured are usually long term. Hence, it is even more difficult for all the people involved to keep sight of the end goal. This can be made easier by documenting the objectives so that they can be read regularly by all the stakeholders.
Long-term goals can be documented in the form of a mission statement. The mission statement should be documented in clear and concise terms to ensure that all the parties involved understand it.
5. Establish Short Term Goals to Help Attain the Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals are relative. Achieving long-term goals in some situations could take a few years. Therefore, special attention should be given to short-term goals. Firstly, the short-term goals should be formulated in line with the long-term goals. The achievement of short-term goals regularly by all the people involved in the process builds up to the achievement of the long-term goals. Again, the short-term goals have to be in line with what is hoped to be achieved in the long run.
In setting and matching goals, we can depend on the SMART acronym. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Professionals from different fields have used this acronym in many different situations and it has proven effective. If your goals fulfill the criteria in the acronym, there is every tendency that it is feasible.
6. Establish Performance Targets
This is achieved by taking a look at past performances and comparing them to the present. In developing performance measures, it is important to have already set standards. These standards are gotten from previous tasks and projects.
7. Create a Simple Approach
This step involves the following activities:
- Ensure that your measures match your goals and objectives.
- Take all the time needed to perform tasks.
- Keep the number of measures you use at the lowest.
- Decide what level of performance defines success.
- Ensure that you possess enough resources for the project.
Developing performance measures can be very advantageous, especially in the long run. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that the performance measures we use are effective and result-oriented. Note that the use of performance measures can also have some disadvantages.
About the Author
Tiffany Harper is an experienced writing guru who’s been working in the B2B sector for several years now. She loves to share her thoughts through blogs and social media. For her love of writing, she also provided some consultation while working with dissertation writing services from Assignment Masters.