The criteria employers use to evaluate job performance vary according to occupation, position, department and organizational goals, past performance and performance standards. The type of performance appraisal might also dictate what criteria managers use when they evaluate an employee's performance. Basic criteria for evaluating job performance include performance standards, skills and competency, goal-setting and professional development and overall adherence to the company's philosophical principles concerning business and work ethic.
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Performance standards define what an employee must do to meet his employer's expectations. Although a job description is the first step in creating performance standards, measuring employee performance requires much more than simply the list of duties, tasks and responsibilities. Sample performance standards for sales representatives might include: "Close 12 sales annually and maintain 90 per cent customer satisfaction rate for at least half of customer base." Similar to employee goals, performance standards are within the employee's reach -- they are not unattainable goals. However, employees who fall below performance standards receive evaluations that indicate their performance fails to meet the employer's expectations. A sales representative who closes 20 sales each year and maintains 98 per cent satisfaction rate for all the customers she services is entitled to receive an evaluation that states she is exceeding the company's expectations.
Skills and Competency
Competency, skills and solid technical knowledge are critical elements in many performance evaluations. Using job descriptions as the starting point, managers evaluate performance based on the employee's ability to perform the duties and tasks for which he was hired. This is one reason the recruitment and selection process is fundamental to performance management. Employers recruit and hire candidates who show they are capable of performing the position's tasks and responsibilities. Job performance evaluations then measure the competency and skill an employee demonstrates in performing her assigned tasks. Examples of skills and competencies include an IT professional's knowledge and proficiency level of computer software applications and a registered nurse's demonstrated understanding and ease in performing clinical procedures.
Goals and Professional Development
Performance evaluations include goal-setting and identifying resources an employee must use throughout his professional development track. Goal-setting using the SMART method makes it easier to use goals and professional development as criteria for performance evaluations. The SMART method ensures employee goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive. During an annual performance evaluation, managers and employees review the previously established goals. The manager's evaluation includes whether the employee reached the goals or the amount of progress an employee made toward each. Employees who do relatively nothing to work toward reaching their goals generally receive evaluations that indicate they need to improve in areas such as time management and access to professional development resources.
Job performance evaluation using subjective criteria such as an employee's adherence to the company's philosophy, mission and values might seem difficult. However, when managers utilise these criteria, they must determine how to measure whether an employee meets the company expectations in what can seem to be the more ambiguous areas of job performance. An example of quantifying employee performance in this area involves observations of employee interaction with coworkers to determine if her interpersonal relationship and communication skills reflect company practices and values. Another way managers use company philosophy, mission and values as a component of job evaluation is through 360-degree feedback evaluations that include input from employees' peers, managers and subordinates. Using 360-degree feedback becomes an objective measure in providing managers with a variety of perspectives related to whether an employee embodies the company philosophy.
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- Society for Judgment and Decision Making: Criteria for Performance Evaluation; David J. Weiss; March 2009
- Find Law: Considerations for Your Performance Evaluation
- The University of Georgia: Classified Employee Performance Evaluation
- Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd Edition: Employee Performance Appraisals