Do YOUR people know what GOOD looks like

You may have told them but depending on the how and the when, you told them, they still may not know what your expectations of them or the business are.

As we know from life itself – GOOD to one person may mean something entirely different to another person’s GOOD; and that’s how issue starts, in the failure to agree what GOOD looks like at the very outset, so we’ll all recognise it when we get there.

The issue becomes even more subjective / emotive / difficult when the definition of GOOD is applied to individual qualitative performance rather than the straight forward hit this number and we will have had a GOOD year!

Imagine the difficulties when writing standards of performance, or signing off job descriptions or setting objectives or worse still, appraising someone against any of the above if you have an undefined GOOD.

Make life easier for yourself (and your people) by providing examples of what GOOD looks like for each competency, objective or procedure; and yes, by default what every other rating looks like too, from unacceptable to excellent.

Here’s what one of my appraisal definitions looked like in my first job back in the 1980’s … and I’m sure the wordsmiths out there will have refined one or two things since.

Problem Solving & Priority Setting

“identifying problems & opportunities, drawing accurate facts & figures to make presentations & quotes, quick & accurate in usage”

Interestingly, today’s thinking when it comes to performance rating is to have a five-point scale, as ratings affect the employees’ perception of fairness. A study by Bartol et al, reports a five-point scale resulted in employees being more confident that they could improve their performance, set higher goals for themselves and went on to see higher rating improvements. Whilst a three-point scale may be deemed too hard to be worth the effort for a move up from a 2 to a 3.

That same employer in the 80’s only had a three-point rating scale: Significant Strength, Strength and Needs Improvement – in words others, if it wasn’t a strength you needed to improve!

BUT perhaps the most important takeaway from these 400 words on what GOOD looks like is to ask your people and agree with them what definitions of GOOD should be applied to their roles, objectives and the business they work in.

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in Appraisals, Brand Expectations, Company Culture, Engagement, Key Performance Indicator, People performance
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