18 Mar A Formula for Measuring Performance
Engagement and performance are hugely influenced by the quality and regularity of ongoing coaching conversations between a manager and an employee. The Corporate Executive Board suggests that when employees and managers have frequent, honest, future-focused coaching conversations, engagement and business results improve by as much as 12%.
In these pandemic times of remote working, we have less informal opportunities for engagement, so it’s important that when we do have those virtual coaching conversations, we need to take full advantage of them. Assessing how well an employee is performing will inform the conversation.
A useful tool we have devised based on the work of Whetten et al is the performance formula: P = E + A + A + O
Performance is a function of: Clarity of expectations, the ability of employees to deliver on these expectations, their attitude and the opportunities they have to perform effectively. The evidence for an employee’s good or not so good performance is almost always contained within this formula. Here are some questions you should ask yourself and the employee:
Expectations: Unless employees are clear on what’s expected of them it’s almost impossible for them to perform effectively. More often than not this is the manager’s responsibility. How sure are you that your expectations are clearly understood and that you’re both on the same page?
Ability: The employee needs to have the right skills, resources and aptitude to deliver on your expectations. What have you done to support the development of competencies through coaching and experiential learning? Do your employees have all the necessary resources, tools and time to meet expectations? Are they suited to the role with the right aptitude?
Attitude: No matter how clear an employee is on expectations or how skilled they are to deliver on them, if they don’t want to then they won’t perform effectively. Someone with the right motivation, commitment or self-confidence will deliver. Those that don’t will struggle.
Opportunity: Employees can be clear on what’s expected, have all the ability and attitude in the world but if you don’t give them the opportunity to prove themselves, they will never perform. Have you given your employee responsibility for outcomes rather than tasks and offered constructive feedback when things have gone wrong? Could it be that you’ve held on to the reins of power? Have you opened doors and helped raise their profile? How visible are they to senior leaders in the organisation?
I find it useful during coaching conversations for the employee to rate their performance overall and to then rate themselves on each element of the formula. Teasing out the reasons for their ratings will usually identify strengths that need to be leveraged and areas for further development through coaching. Employees like it because it offers a structured and logical approach. They take ownership of the analysis and feel responsible for the outcomes.
I have no doubt that using the performance formula has enhanced the quality of the virtual coaching conversations I have had over the course of the last year.
Try it. My guess is you’ll get stronger employee engagement and they’ll demonstrate greater ownership of their development and performance.