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13 ideas on measuring employee effectiveness

Posted on 7/07/2020 by Tracey George MIRP

Blue measuring tape

Measuring your employees’ effectiveness and productivity is an important part of managing a team, and ensures your organisation is running optimally.

Some roles are easier than others to evaluate, eg fundraising roles usually have quantifiable targets to hit and the effectiveness of these employees is largely based on performance against these goals. However, it can be much more difficult and more subjective, to evaluate the performance of other employees, eg support staff.

Managers in the past have heavily relied on being physically present with their team members and in that, having the ability to ‘see’ or ‘experience’ the productivity levels of their staff.  This year we have been faced with the inability to do this in the same way and as such we potentially need to rely on the metrics more than we have before.  I would add however that measuring productivity and effectiveness during the pandemic could be more complex and managers should consider taking into account the personal circumstances and working conditions for each individual.  Everyone has had to adapt to a new way of working.

When deciding which metrics to use, it’s worth bearing a couple of things in mind. Firstly, ask your employees how they measure their performance. They have the best knowledge about their role and what success looks like, and allowing them to input into the metric used gives them ownership of the measurement process. Try to use a combination of objective (measurable numbers) and subjective (rating by a manager) measurements, and make sure you cover the whole of their role, to give you the full picture of how they are performing, whether that is back in the workplace or remotely.

Below are some metrics to consider:

1. Management by objectives

This is probably the most common way to measure employee performance. Objectives are set periodically, eg each quarter, and reviewed at the end of the target period. Progress towards each objective is then scored and new goals set.

2. Use rating scales

For subjective measurements, such as cooperativeness, dependability and judgment, a manager can rate their employee on a scale of 1 to 10. The rating should be done at regular intervals and be consistent in both what it measures, and the scale used, to track changes in staff performance. Use the job description to set criteria necessary for the role.

3. Ask staff to rate their own job satisfaction

Happier employees are usually more productive employees, and job satisfaction is a particularly important motivator for staff who work in the non-profit sector. This is also a very useful indicator about whether employees are likely to leave in the near future.

4. Track digital trails

Computer software increasingly allows managers to track their employees’ work, eg through keystrokes made, tasks completed, or percentage of an employees’ time spent using a particular application. These metrics are especially useful for data entry or processing roles.

5. Team performance

Measuring the performance of a team, as well as the individuals within it, will help determine whether they work well together, and if a reorganisation may help boost productivity.

6. Peer appraisals

Other staff members in similar roles can be asked to rate an employee’s performance, on the basis that they know best what the job requires. This is also a good way to monitor an employee’s ability to work well with others.

7. External evaluators

The use of professional assessors who monitor employees during simulated or actual work activities gives truly objective results but is probably not a realistic option for most non- profit organisations.

8. Quantity and quality

It is important to always make sure these measures are linked. For example, scoring call centre or supporter care services staff purely on number of calls fielded or made, ignores whether many of these calls have a satisfactory outcome or not.  Are emails more effective than calls, is the quality of the contact compromised by use of email instead of calls?

9. Cost effectiveness

If the employee has some control over their budget, this can be a useful indicator of performance.

10. Creativity

This is difficult to measure but can be an incredibly important part of some roles, eg design or marketing and communications jobs. Ask an employee to keep a record of their creative work and use appraisals to go through examples and score them.

11. Feedback forms

Whenever employees have contact with either donors or service users, you can use feedback forms to track the success of the interaction and grade the staff member on their performance. Limit feedback forms to a couple of easily answered questions and you should get a sufficient flow of replies to establish a track record.

12. Mystery shopping

For staff who regularly interact with the public, eg supporter services, mystery shopping is a good way to track intangibles like knowledge, friendliness, or helpfulness. Someone pretends to be a service user and uses a pre-prepared script to gauge the employee’s ability to deal with a certain situation

13. Advocacy

Staff advocacy is particularly important for non- profit organisations, as it is important for employees to feel enthusiastic about their organisation’s cause. However, it can be difficult to measure. You could look at using net promoter scores for employees, based on their willingness to promote your organisation’s services or internal jobs.

Remember, it is never enough simply to measure the effectiveness of your employees. The key thing is to act on that information, so that the performance of your organisation as a whole improves and your employees also benefit from developing their skills and experience further.

For further recruitment advice on managing staff visit our blogs.