Why Performance Standards Are Essential For Managing Employee Performance


Managers talk a lot about goals. That’s to be expected. But there’s a little secret most managers don’t know about managing employee performance. To most employees, standards are more important than goals.

What Standards Are For

Standards provide benchmarks to enable employees to decide “how they’re going”. If the standards are clear and definitive enough, both employees and managers can check progress. They can do this monthly, weekly or even daily.

Imagine how helpful that would be – both for manager and employee.

Broad Benefits

Employee performance standards bring five broad benefits

  • They tell you how well you’re progressing towards achieving goals
  • They guarantee that you’ll know when goals have been achieved
  • They significantly reduce stress for managers
  • They permit objective assessment of the on job performance of employees
  • They are the foundation of successful on job training.

Who Sets Them?

Setting such crystal clear standards is a prime responsibility for managers. Employees may contribute. But the ultimate responsibility lies with managers. If you want to succeed in managing employee performance, standards are essential.

Other Benefits

When you set clear, measurable performance standards you gain many extra benefits

  • They clarify exactly what you expect from your staff
  • Employees know precisely what you regard as most important
  • Employees know just how their performance will be measured
  • Standards provide many opportunities for positive reinforcement of employees’ work
  • They generate superior management information to enable managers to make better decisions
  • Managers can take prompt action when standard aren’t being met
  • They remove the need for close supervision
  • They form the foundation for successful operating systems
  • They provide accurate and relevant information to use in determining rewards and incentives
  • They enable formal performance appraisal to be based on accurate, relevant performance based data: not behaviour, opinion and hearsay
  • They help in managing “difficult” employees.

Must Be Measurable

Sound performance standards are clearly measurable. There’s a good way to check this. If you already have performance standards check the wording. Do they start with “understand”, “appreciate”, “value”, “gain insight” or any other such imprecise words? If so, they’re called “fuzzys” not performance standards.

Only when you specify how you’ll measure “understanding” or “appreciation” will you have genuine performance standards. Once you do you’ll have a simple way of measuring employee performance precisely.

A Question For You

Ask yourself “Would I like my employees to achieve more?” If your answer is “Yes”, look to your performance standards. If they’re not clear, measurable and definitive, you can’t expect your employees to perform to their potential. Without standards, they won’t know exactly.

Check the 7 words that will help your staff to find how other actions will lift employee achievement levels.

A Gift To Help You Set Performance Standards

Sometimes, managers undervalue the importance of standards. We’ve been told about the importance of goals for decades. But we haven’t been as well informed about the importance of standards.

As a result, you could confuse goals and performance standards.

To help you set performance standards, I’ve prepared a simple Self Instructional eBook called

“Performance Standards. How to write them & how to make

them work for you”.

If you’d like a copy of this free eBook, click here. You’ll receive it immediately. It’s yours to keep and it’s free.

6 Responses to Why Performance Standards Are Essential For Managing Employee Performance
  1. Karen Carleton
    June 23, 2012 | 12:24 am

    Hello Leon
    I always enjoy your posts when I have time to read them. You have a great common-sense, easy to read approach. I only wish I could learn more from you by having coffee in-person but we’re too far apart.
    Have a terrific day and weekend!

    Karen in Canada

  2. Leon
    June 25, 2012 | 12:05 pm

    G’Day Karen,
    Feel free to pop across at any time. Meantime, remember that I’m always happy to expand or comment on anything you’d like to raise.

  3. Godson Dave Sebuguzi
    July 30, 2012 | 7:33 pm

    Oh yes i agree with Karen, your simplicity in the explanation is just great. Also for me i enjoy the proffessionalism approach. Keep it up, have a blessed day.

  4. Leon
    August 17, 2012 | 1:01 pm

    G’Day Godson, Thanks for your encouraging comment. Always feel free to make a contribution

    Best Wishes

  5. Nomvuyo Jawe
    September 19, 2012 | 3:22 am

    Dear Leon

    I really appreciate the generosity and effort that you put in your work in empowering others. I have personally benefited from your site.

    God bless

  6. Leon
    September 24, 2012 | 1:46 pm

    Thanks for your comment. Pleased that you find the blog valuable. Your comments are always welcome.


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