If you're a growth-minded small business owner, you know the value of good business metrics.
Businesses that rely on metrics are more prepared to perform planning and decision-making than those who don't. But businesses that obsess about company metrics frequently drop the ball when it comes to individual employee metrics – and that's a problem.
Your company's performance level is the aggregate of the individual performance levels of your employees. When individual employees perform at or above expectations, the company prospers; when individuals fail to meet their performance targets, the company has no chance of meeting its performance targets. So because company performance is directly tied to individual performance, owners and leaders have strong incentives to implement individual employee metrics as well as company metrics.
- Employee ratings. A good starting point for individual employee metrics is to assign classifications to each employee's performance, e.g. "Exceed Expectations, Meets Expectations, Fails to Meet Expectations", etc. Supervisors can apply these ratings during annual reviews, but from a metrics perspective, it's more useful to conduct semi-annual or even quarterly ratings evaluations.
- Performance targets. Using individual performance metrics as the basis, company leaders can set performance targets for the entire organization. For example, if performance currently stands at 10% (Exceeds Expectations)/80% (Meets Expectations)/10% (Fails to Meet Expectations), management may choose to set a performance target of 30/65/5.
- Personal buy-in. Reshuffling individual performance percentages won't accomplish anything unless your employees buy-in to the process of self-improvement. When workers feel like their employer is using metrics to bully them into an ultimatum, they aren't personally invested in their performance and the company will struggle to hit its broader performance goals.
- Individual goal-setting. It's imperative for company leaders to invest time and effort in helping their workers hit individual performance metrics. Mentoring, coaching and team goal-setting activities have their place. But there is no substitute for an employer who is willing to sit down with his employees to set metrics-based individual goals and assist in the creation of a realistic plan to achieve the employee's personal performance objectives.
If individual employees fail to achieve reasonable, individual performance metrics, there must be consequences. Additional training and supervision are possibilities, but in extreme cases, disciplinary action may be warranted.