Do You Know What Good Performance is?

Most business owners recognise the importance of reward and recognition in motivating staff and enhancing performance but also that it is not all about money.

Where staff are satisfied with their salary levels, it is not at all about money. However, at some point monetary reward will raise its head.

After years of stagnation, recent pay and reward information suggests that pay levels have started to rise again in the UK. This year could see increases by up to 3% or 3.5% in some organisations. This creates an opportunity to reward more effective performers better and to retain them more effectively. But do you know what high performance is in your organisation and who you want to retain?

At one level, we often say that we know who the good, and not so good performers are in our organisations. Well, we know the not so good and we can deal with them. However, what is the definition of good in your organisation? Have you identified the difference between average, good and excellent performance. If not, how can you decide what to pay whom and whom is best to retain.

Performance is made up of two general facets.

1. Has the individual achieved the ‘numbers’? This is what they have done and can be calibrated in quantity and quality i.e. accuracy, volume, deliveries, complaints, cases handed, etc

2. How have they done it? This is the behaviours, commitment and attitude a person brings to the job and covers energy, enthusiasm, enjoyment, good humour, future potential, etc.

Good performance covers both of these facets but excellent performance has a much higher level of the second set. In brief, individuals who are predominantly focussed in the first group will ‘do’ the job. Individuals predominantly focused in the second group will tend to ‘make’ their job and contribution bigger. Increases in pay should recognise and reward that.

But, how do you define and differentiate between them? This is crucial for any business.

Performance is made up of two basic factors: what is done and how it is done.

What is done is the easier of the factors and can often be identified through setting good qualitative and quantitative objectives whose achievement can then be monitored and measured: for example accuracy, volume, timing, deliveries, complaints, cases handed, etc. These also enables easier appraisal of staff. Good performers will do these well but often will not take the job much beyond that.

How it is done. The majority of jobs have another dimension which makes the difference between average, even good, and great performance.This is the behaviours, motivation, commitment and attitude a person brings to the job and covers energy, enthusiasm, enjoyment, good humour, future potential, etc.

Great performers demonstrate a much higher level of these qualities. These employees will tend to ‘make’ their job and contribution bigger.
But how do employers achieve this?

There are three things to consider:

• Clarity around what needs done i.e. knowing and setting good clear objectives. Without being clear on what needs done, it is extremely difficult to achieve anything.

• Recruit employees with the skills to achieve what needs done, but who also demonstrate a high level of the qualities or potential to be excellent. There are robust recruitment and interviewing techniques which enable these qualities to be identified.

• Identify your existing staff along the axes of What needs Done and How it is Done. This gives four general quadrants or categories of employees i.e. High skilled/Highly motivated; High skilled/Lowly motivated; Low skilled/Highly motivated; and Low skilled/Lowly motivated. Then manage and reward staff in each of these quadrants accordingly.

Jim Gilhooley
Morgan Gil HR