Measuring team vs. individual performance

September 30, 2019

Performance evaluations for individuals and groups can be challenging and rewarding for managers. The reward of seeing a struggling employee make a breakthrough is tough to beat. Reviews often need extra work, tough decisions, and sometimes result in anxiety among staff, but they don’t have to. Reviews for individual contributors and productive teams have some overlapping qualities. These strategies can be used together to build a groundswell of success throughout an organization.

Set expectations early

There are many philosophies and strategies for modern management, but they all emphasize setting expectations early. New employees are usually inundated with policies and paperwork. Evaluation time frames, structures and expectations should also be covered in the orientation process. The more intangible elements of their new role, such as the corporate culture or how teams and individuals interact with each other, usually aren’t obvious right away. Knowing the expectations early will help new employees navigate the workplace with ease. New hires should have a good understanding of how they are being measured as they begin working and prioritizing their time. The employee handbook is a great resource for an organization’s evaluation procedures. The onboarding process should also cover performance expectations and timelines for working in a team.

Consistency is key

Achieving any goal becomes more difficult when the benchmarks change over time. Most employees strive for success and the satisfaction of their supervisors. The same is true for teams working together. If a block of time – such as a business quarter, month, or calendar year – is measured successfully, the next evaluation should use the same methods. Using a 5-point numeric scale this year and switching to a completely different system next year will likely cause confusion or frustration. Human resources teams have to train management on the new system, who must then apply the new structure to their staff. At the end of the day, no one is sure how this year compared to last year. Did they improve? Did their performance decline? It’s a difficult question to answer if evaluations are rebuilt every year.

It’s important to note that different types of teams will need distinct measurements. Unfortunately, there isn’t one process that fits every department within an organization. Teams need Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are specific to the work in their own departments. Individual contributors should be consistently measured. Their collective output as a group requires a more adaptive approach. Additionally, consistency  year-over-year is still important for appraising team performance.

Focus on quantifiable goals and quality interactions

In the 20th Century, as the American economy shifted from manufacturing and commodities to services and technology, popular management philosophies also changed. Interpersonal communication or group relationships weren’t as important on an assembly line in the 1930s. In a modern office or production environment, they are critical to organizational success. While some companies only focus on quantifiable output, it is just as important to measure the quality of personal interactions. Are there large scale problems between departments or divisions within a company? How well do projects move from one part of the company to the next? These serve as warning signs that can be mitigated through consistent performance reviews.

Make feedback a two-way process

Most veteran managers have experience completing performance evaluations and coaching their staff. But how many managers have been reviewed by their subordinates? How many of them would be comfortable with that process? Employee feedback surveys should be part of an ongoing professional development process. This can help organizational leaders learn more about their own management styles. Are they adaptive and reaching different personality types with different tactics? Is there some underlying relational reason that a particular employee is underperforming? This two-way interaction can help both sides of any team grow and develop.

We can help.

We understand that evaluating teams and individual contributors can pose unique challenges. Ultimately, the goal is to have each staff member exceeding their personal and team goals. A quantifiable organizational structure helps teams or departments succeed as well. This synergy builds momentum for the employees and their teams. At SourcePointe, we utilize our industry-experience to provide you with a multitude of customizable HR services, support, and solutions. All so your business can do one thing – more business. We’ll provide tailor-made solutions that fit your company’s needs while providing a solid return on your investment that pays off immediately – and for many years after that.

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