Performance measurement is about results measurement. The purpose is to monitor the outcome of the work completed and gauge progress. Unfortunately, some associate performance measurement with “being watched.” This negative connotation leads to a self-serving mindset.
To get your team to embrace performance measurement, start slow and build the culture over time.
Begin with focus
Select a couple results that your team is responsible for. Share the rationale on why these results are representative of the team’s work and the linkage to the work activities. The understanding of this linkage is important as it will become the key decision filter for the day-to-day activities.
For instance, accounting is responsible for billing. There is a need to get the bill out as quickly as possible. The result you want is short billing cycle time. As the accounting manager, you identify that the billing cycle time is a key indicator of success for billing. In communicating the result that accounting is responsible for, you emphasize the need to expedite the activities involved in generating a bill.
Apply gentle reinforcement
Through regular communication of the results, reinforce the essence of the measurement. This requires clear messaging of the results and explanation of the impacts and causes for sub-par performance. You ought to make the conversation relevant to the team. If your team isn’t able to associate the messages with what they do, there is no incentive to take action.
For the billing cycle time example, you would break down the tasks pertinent to billing. Convey the implications of the results. Identify areas that present problems and note their effects on cycle time. By doing so, you provide guidance and a gentle nudge to make improvement.
Encourage participative improvement
In order to hold the team accountable for the results, you need to ensure that there is ownership of performance and improvement. The best way to foster an ownership mindset is to have the team develop the improvements. This will also make it easier to implement change. There will be less resistance.
When the accounting team accepts that its mandate is to deliver expedited billing. It is conscious of the effort required for every task. The team involves others proactively to explore ideas to shorten the cycle time.
Make the results notable
Nothing speaks louder than thriving improvements. You don’t need an elaborate award. A sincere recognition of the accomplishment is a great way to send a positive signal about commitment and effort. You win trust and buy-in follows. The team is on a powerful course to propel itself forward.
Happy and proud accounting team members are conscientious of their performance and they take full ownership of their work. The accounting team becomes more alert about things that affect the billing cycle time. There is an excitement around finding improvements.
Expand the monitoring
When the value of performance measurement is ingrained, you are ready to expand the scope of performance measurement. You can introduce closely associated results or other important parameters that are worthy of tracking. The exercise becomes a routine.
For the accounting team, you can introduce payment processing cycle time or month-end cycle time. There would be less reservation about monitoring results.
The journey to a positive culture for performance measurement will require time and effort. However, it is an important one for every organization.