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Set Meaningful Employee Performance Measures

Set holistic measures to inspire employee performance.

  • Employee performance measurement is vital to the performance management process. It is informed and impacted by a range of HR activities, including recruitment, onboarding, training and development, employee recognition, compensation, and succession planning.
  • Despite the importance of performance measures, most organizations struggle with choosing appropriate metrics and standards of performance for their employees. Performance measures are often misaligned with the larger strategy, gamed by employees, or are too narrow to provide an accurate picture of employee achievements.
  • Additionally, many organizations track too many metrics, resulting in a bureaucratic nightmare with little payoff.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focus on what matters by aligning your departmental goals with the enterprise mission and business goals. Break down departmental goals into specific goals for each employee group.
  • Employee engagement, which results in better performance, is directly correlated with employees’ understanding what is expected of them on the job and with their performance reviews reflecting their actual contributions.
  • Shed unnecessary metrics in favor of a lean, holistic approach to performance measurement. Include quantitative, qualitative, and behavioral dimensions in each goal and set appropriate measures for each dimension to meet simple targets. This encourages well-rounded behaviors and discourages rogue behavior.
  • Get rid of the stick-and-carrot approach to management. Use performance measurement to inspire and engage employees, not punish them.

Impact and Result

  • Learn about and leverage the McLean & Company framework and process to effective employee performance measurement setting.
  • Plan effective communications, and successfully manage departmental employee performance measurement by accurately recording goals, measures, and requirements.
  • Find your way through the maze of employee performance management with confidence.

Set Meaningful Employee Performance Measures Research & Tools

1. Develop meaningful employee performance measures

Accurately assess employee performance in my department.

2. Document employee performance measures

Effectively measure and report departmental employee performance.

3. Quickly get up-to-speed on how to set employee performance measurements

Get an understanding before I begin setting measures.

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Asha Pandya

Kamila Pizon


McLean & Company surveyed HR professionals and business leaders on the topic of employee performance measurement. The survey attracted 91 respondents.

McLean & Company also interviewed experts and HR leaders with deep experience in the area of employee performance measurement.

The following people contributed to the research for this solution set:

  • Gary E. Roberts, Associate Professor & MPA Program Director at the Robertson School of Government, Regent University.
  • Rose McFarlane, General Manager of Human Resources at DairyNZ.
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