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17 ideas for measuring employee effectiveness

Measuring your employees’ effectiveness is an important part of managing a team, and ensures your organisation is running at its most productive. Some roles are easier than others to evaluate, eg fundraising roles usually have quantifiable targets to hit and the effectiveness of these employees is purely based on performance against these goals. However, it can be much harder and more subjective to evaluate the performance of other employees, eg support staff. Below is a list of different metrics that you could use to evaluate employee effectiveness during appraisals.

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 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.

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. Focus on performance

To keep employees focussed solely on tasks which are critical for the success of the organisation, you can look at how much time they spend on other things, eg how often are they online or checking emails? How much time do they spend on admin? Do they often take personal calls at work? This can help identify more efficient ways of working. It is also interesting to look at productivity statistics at various times during the day, to see if there are any times where employees typically ‘slump’.

4. Ask staff to rate their own job satisfaction

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

5. 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.

6. Team performance

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

7. 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.

8. 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 not for profit organisations.

9. Quantity and quality

It is important to always make sure these measures are linked. For example, scoring call centre staff purely on number of calls fielded ignores whether the majority of these calls have a satisfactory outcome or not.

10. Cost effectiveness

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

11. Absenteeism / tardiness

Obviously, an employee is not performing when they are not at work. However, you must be careful not to discriminate in cases of absence due to sickness.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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

15. Advocacy

Staff advocacy is particularly important for not for 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.

16. Personal appearance/grooming

The key thing to measure here is appropriateness. Different roles will require different levels of personal appearance, depending on who the employee is in contact with, but it is important that employees know the standard that they are expected to adhere to.

17. Physical fitness

An increasing number of organisations are investing in their employees' health and physical fitness, for instance with regular exercise classes. The idea is that healthier employees are more productive employees, and improvements in fitness can be tracked to correlate against increased productivity. However, this works best when employees are asked to track their progress themselves, as an employer doing so would be too intrusive.

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.