New Article on Performance Management/Writing Standards

Check out the following article I wrote on the above topic on www.OhMyGOv.com:

Improving Government Performance – Part Four

Writing employee performance standards…

By Stewart Liff Mar 15 2012, 05:42 AM

In my last column, I talked about how to establish performance metrics. Today I am going to discuss one of the most difficult aspects of managing individual employee performance – writing employee performance standards.

In my experience, this is one of the tasks that supervisors struggle with the most; even though it is one of the most important. After all, if employees don’t know what is expected of them, how they going to achieve management’s expectations? How are their supervisors going to be able to rate them? What will be the basis for giving out awards? What criteria will they use to distinguish between employees when making decisions regarding promotions?

As you can see, if performance standards are not written properly, all sorts of problems can arise. For one thing, when there are no real standards to speak of, the supervisors wind up making subjective performance appraisal/awards determinations of their employees. This often results in the employees feeling they are being treated unfairly, because they can’t predict what their ratings will be and when they receive them, don’t understand the bases for their ratings and/or awards (or lack thereof.) When this happens, people start to gripe to each other, morale drops and grievances and EEO complaints follow.

From the supervisors’ perspective, they often dread the end of the appraisal cycle because they fear they will have to make determinations based on gut rather than fact and will then have to defend their decisions with little or no data. Many know they will face the wrath of their employees and the union because they will be forced to support ratings and awards determinations based on indefensible performance standards.

Writing Performance Standards

So how do you go about writing employee performance standards? In my experience, from the perspective of performance management, there are two types of positions: 1) transactional types of jobs that are relatively easy to measure (e.g. claims processors, processing clerks, certain financial-type positions, etc.); and 2) all other jobs that are not so easy to measure (management analysts, attorneys, researchers, etc.) Let’s look at ways you can write standards for each type of jobs.

To see the entire article, go to: http://ohmygov.com/blogs/general_news/archive/2012/03/15/improving-government-performance-part-four.aspx

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