Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

How to set employee performance standards

Companies set employee performance standards to measure and assess the progress of staff against business expectations. Performance standards can exist in any job and typically set goals and define the quality of performance each time a task is performed. Using a method of setting standards such as SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) ensures each employee is treated fairly, equally and consistently.

Use the employee's job description and role specification to decide which performance standards should be set. For example, in a call centre telephone calls might need to be answered within three rings and using a specific greeting. The key is to develop standards that measure essential job duties and responsibilities using a balance of process, outcome and individual and group-based performance standards.

Meet the employee to set the performance standards together. This allows the employee to ask any questions and gives him the opportunity to agree that tasks are achievable and realistic.

Write down the specific standard and outcome of the task set; for example, five products sold within a defined period. At the end of the meeting, file the document and give a copy to the employee for reference.

Decide how you will measure the defined standard so the employee knows if she has delivered to the standard required.

Explain how you will evaluate the employee's workload and check his understanding. Agree with the employee that set tasks are relevant and realistic to the role. Establish the resources and support that the employee might need to achieve the performance standard.

Set a time period over which the employee should achieve the standard. This might be daily, weekly, monthly or before the next performance review.

Hold regular performance reviews with the employee so she knows how she is contributing to the goals. Many companies hold quarterly appraisal meetings with their employees as part of their performance management strategy.