Organizations could evaluate employee job performance by measuring "on the job behavior", citizenship behavior, and personal growth and development. By disecting outcomes from performance, feedback from performance evaluations will become more meaningful and motivating.
If employee performance evaluations focus on job outcomes, employees may feel helpless regarding their work and their performance behavior.
For example, a car salesman shows great performance by selling 3 cars each day. The performance behaviors could be described as "saying the right things", sales techniques, striking the deal at the right moment, making customers feel welcome by greeting them warmly when they enter the store, etc. The car salesman always focus on these behaviors as he knows this is required of him to sell cars. In this case, the car salesman shows great performance and outcomes. In another setting, like during an economic downturn, the car salesman could still be doing all the performance behaviors, but because of low demands nobody buys cars from him anymore.
The problem is that there is a difference between organizational performance and individual employee performance. The former includes the organization at whole and therefore only outcomes. However, the latter includes both performance behaviors and outcomes. Further, performance behaviors and outcomes are heavily related, but not 100%. Consequently, performance evaluations need to evaluate the things that employees can control, and that is behavior.
In a project/team- oriented workplace this could be solved by evaluating performance by behaviors and personal growth and development.
The behaviors needs to be both operationalized and to be strongly correlated to outcomes! This is something that an organization needs to explore and learn by regularly correlating different behaviors to outcomes. In a team oriented workplace, the team could rate each other on different behaviors after every project (depending on the length) or after a fixed time lap. This is important because feedback is crucial to learn and to increase performance.
One example could be that an employee lacks sufficient presentation skills. The team rate a member as only novice regarding his or her presentation skills. This could be an important performance behavior if the goal of the presentation is to sell in an idea or a product.
Measuring personal growth and development:
Such a measure needs to be closely related to the employees career path. What skills and knowledge does the employee want and need to continue on his or her career path? This is the real task for the manager: making sure that every employee experiences personal growth and development both on a personal level and a professional level. This is important because the work will become more meaningful to the employees as they strive to reach personal goals and feel supported by the employer. The work gives a possibility for growth and development.
Worklife becomes more meaningful and motivating as it could be perceived as an arena for personal growth and development. This way of "caring" for the employees also shifts the manager role from "boss" to "mentor". Furthermore, it requires a commitment to talent management within the organization.
- Campbell, J. P., McCloy, R. A., Oppler, S. H., & Sager, C. E. (1993). A theory of performance: In N. Schmitt & W. C. Borman (Eds.), Personnel Selection in Organizations (pp. 35-70). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.