Performance: Can It Actually be measured?

Qualitative aspects of any subject are always difficult to measure because qualitative aspects are based on the judgments. These judgments may be right but there’s also a high chance that it might go wrong. However, it’s not impossible to measure the qualitative aspects of any subject matter.

As I am an HR Professional, I have to conduct the performance appraisals of the employees. However, performance is qualitative in nature and cannot be quantified exactly. Therefore, it’s very difficult to measure the performance of the employees. I also believe that may HR professionals face difficulties of similar kinds. So, does that means performance cannot be measured? Absolutely not! If it were true, there would not have been any subjects like performance management system and no one would have worked in the field of performance management. Performance actually can be measured.

In the following paragraph, I would like to discuss simple steps, which can be followed to measure the performance of employees.

When we mention performance measurement, it’s also important to mention about performance management system (PMS). I will not discuss PMS in details over here because I have already discussed it in my previous blog article.

The PMS starts with performance planning. In this stage, we conduct goals setting sessions to determine the goals for the employees. When the goals are set then they are executed/performed, monitored and controlled to avoid deviation, appraised, feedback is given and training need is analyzed. While measuring the performance we must be very clear that the goals should be measured and not the tasks. This is because multiple tasks may be assigned for a single goal and therefore to measure all the tasks can be very hectic. Moreover, completion of goals and not the tasks should determine the overall performance of the employees.

It’s very important to consider five things to determine the goals:

  1. S – SMART

I would like to clear above argument with the help of the example. Suppose, to achieve PhD. in Human Resource Management (HRM) is my goal (Writer is based in Nepal), then there are multiple task that I will need to perform to ensure my goal is obtained. The tasks may be as follows:

  1. Prepare for IELTS and GMAT/GRE
  2. Give IELTS and GMAT/GRE
  3. Prepare the Research Proposal
  4. Find the suitable Universities
  5. Forward the Research Proposals and Scores of IELTS and GMAT/GRE
  6. Find the Consultancy to process VISA
  7. Get enrolled in PhD. Program
  8. Study, Give Exams and Paper Presentation
  9. Achieve a PhD. Degree

As per SMART approach, a goal to achieve PhD. in HRM is SMART because it’s Specific (What’s the Goal – To achieve PhD. in HRM), Measurable (Completion of PhD. Degree and acquiring the Certificate justifies it), Achievable (PhD. in HRM is definitely achievable), Reliable (It’s reliable because the authenticity of the University will prove its reliability) and Time Bound (Duration of PhD. is around 5 Years). Therefore, if I complete all my tasks properly then I will be able to achieve my goals to obtain a PhD. in HRM. However, measuring each and every task will be very difficult for me and it will have no meaning at all. This is because if I perform my task well I will ultimately achieve my goals. And, my achieving the goals justifies that I have performed my tasks well. So, in my view, tasks need not be measured, goals need to be measured.