Measuring Employee Performance
High Job Competence and High Behaviors. Employees in the far upper right hand corner represent our “A” players. Exhibiting an ideal combination of high Job Competence and high Behaviors, these contributors set a good example for other employees, mentor others and are predominantly self-managed. Still, we need to make sure they receive the message that we appreciate their contributions, value having them as part of our team and check for continued engagement. Our research indicates approximately 10% of employees fall into this category.
Lower Job Competence and Mid to High Behaviors. Employees in this quadrant tend to fit one of two categories: — New employees with high behaviors who are enthusiastic, eager to learn and are making steady progress towards gaining new skills, fulfilling job responsibilities and meeting goals. Close supervision, continuous direction and feedback are required. OR — Employees who have received support to learn the skills required to master the job responsibilities and meet goals yet lack the aptitude to absorb and apply the required skills. Job responsibilities and goals are only partially completed which results in essential job tasks going unmet and/or falling to the manager or more capable employees in the Upper Right hand corner. Although employees in this area of the Employee Performance Continuum are generally nice to work with a “watch out factor” here is that the employees who pick up the slack can grow resentful of the extra work caused by employees they label as chronic underperformers.
High Job Competence with disruptive behavior. Our research indicates that 20–25% of employees exhibit these characteristics. Perceptions about what constitutes disruptive behavior are highly variable. It’s not that the employee is simply quirky or odd, but that their behaviors impact co-workers in a destructive manner (thereby making it difficult for others to do their work). This can manifest itself in others being reluctant to ask questions, seek clarification and spend mental energy on “how not to deal with” the ‘bad behavior’ employee. These behaviors can be overt (including verbal outbursts, refusal to carry out certain tasks or work with particular individuals) but even more commonly we find that they are passive aggressive (condescending language, refusal or reluctance to cooperate with others, disparaging remarks about the organization, co-workers, boss or customers; negative tone and approach and quietly exhibiting other types of uncivil behaviors).
Impact: Your ‘A’ players have very little patience for dealing with these co-workers, which puts you at risk of losing your best employees. Alternatively, another risk is that your good employees may begin taking on some of the negative characteristics of the disruptive employee. We call this “going over to the “dark side.” Oftentimes we enable these bad actors in our organization by creating workarounds instead of confronting their offending behavior. Bad behavior is harmful even when it’s coming from otherwise and talented star employees.
Low Behaviors and Low Job Competence. If we were giving out letter grades, the performance for employees in this space would receive an “F”. Our research indicates that approximately 3 – 10% of employees reside in this area. One would assume that organizations would take swift action to eliminate these chronic underperformers, yet for a myriad of reasons we allow them to stay at their current performance levels. Why? There are many excuses: this person used to be a valuable employee but has slipped over the years; The employee is doing as much as he/she can- they have got a lot going on in their persona lives; a culture that sends a “we don’t care message” etc. Our view is to ‘help them out or help them out’ (figure out a way to improve their performance, or create an exit strategy). Not only do we sacrifice ROI on our financial investment in such employees, but they also reflect poorly on the organization as a whole.