Boss Lady

The right ways (and the wrong way) to track employee performance


Tracking performance is never fun for anybody – tracker or trackee. But there are several strategies you can use individually or in conjunction with other pointers (depending on what can be deemed applicable in your workplace setting) that will make the task easier.

What not to do

Before anything else though, it’s important to stress that tracking employee performance should not reach a point of becoming like Big Brother. It does not mean visually following or recording everything your employees do. There are effective ways of monitoring employees without becoming a manager who watches employees through surveillance cameras or video feeds.

1. Outline expectations and monitor if employees meet them.

If you are tracking employee performance, it is imperative that you clearly lay out your expectations. Employees should be properly oriented about their responsibilities and functions. Goals, especially the short-term ones, should be clearly set. Also, set timelines or schedules for the expected completion of certain tasks or functions.

2. Take note of timeliness or punctuality.

Being on time at work does not tell the whole story about an employee’s performance but it’s a good starting point for doing monitoring. Those who come to work late tend to be less productive.  Tardiness should give you a hint as you try to identify to whom you should be giving more attention.

3. Get employees involved.

Employees should be made aware that they are being monitored. They don’t need to know how they are being monitored but they should know that the management knows their good performance and will be holding them accountable for their poor performance, serious mistakes, and violations of company rules and regulations. It’s not necessary to require employees to submit reports or wear devices to inform management of what they have been doing.

Nobody wants to be monitored in ways similar to what Tesco was once accused of doing some years ago. What’s important is to subliminally send the message to employees that their performance will be known to management one way or another, and that they can do something to make sure their performance is good or better. Also, employees should have access to the information about them being tracked by the company.

Employee involvement and engagement create a great deal of advantages. These include greater productivity, an improved bottom line, better retention rates of top employees, an enhanced sense of health and wellbeing, and notably, lower health care costs. Happy and satisfied employees who know they are being valued by the company they work for usually tend to be more productive and less likely to suffer from work-induced health issues.

4. Get the right tracking tools.

There are many software tools nowadays that can be used to track employee performance. Not all of them the functions you need, though. Do some research and obtain insights from those in the know, those who have actually had success in using employee performance tracking software. It is advisable to choose one that can automate data compilation and the generation of pertinent reports. It is also recommended getting one that seamlessly integrates with other business software to make it easier to process employee information alongside other business details. Additionally, the employee tracking solution to use should support cloud access for convenient access and data backup.

5. Do spot checking or random inspections.

Spot checking or random inspections serve two main purposes. One, they help verify that the details being tracked truly represent actual employee performance. Two, they keep employees mindful of their work or performance. Nobody wants to be caught procrastinating, idling, malingering, doing things wrong, or not following the prescribed workflow. Spot checks are a direct form of employee performance monitoring that’s advisably undertaken frequently enough. It must be conducted with competence, fairness, and the right amount of stringency to properly serve its purpose.

6. Conduct meetings with employees to update on assignments and discuss concerns.

Regularly meet with employees to personally get updates from them regarding their job assignments. This is something medium and big companies should be doing. With hundreds or more employees, it’s important to maintain good employee-management interaction. Impersonal communications with employees are far from morale boosters and will likely detach employees from the company.

7. Ensure effective quantification.

Employee performance assessment has to be mostly quantitative and only partly subjective. Performance should come with corresponding numbers for managers to have concrete numbers to work with (as opposed to abstract, vague, subjective assessments). This quantification can be best achieved with the use of software tools and an internal system for evaluating productivity and performance.

To help ensure effective quantification, it’s important to emphasize that the process is geared towards improvement, not mere policing. Schemes wherein employees lose points over little violations are to be discouraged.  The system should facilitate improvement and not act as an inconvenient omnipresent limiter. Employees should not feel like they’re sweating the small stuff just to make sure that their performance numbers don’t get affected.

Employee performance tracking is a combination of many things. It is both quantitative and subjective (largely quantitative though). It requires inputs and outputs from both management and employees. It takes into account employee time and efficient work. It can make good use of random inspections. It has to involve a healthy level of personal interaction and strict adherence to company policies, rules, and expected accomplishments. Also notably, employee tracking has to be about ensuring good or improved performance, not only for the sake of finding faults and imposing penalties.

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