How to Define and Measure Performance Review Priorities

Jocelyn Bérard, M.Ps. MBA is the Vice President of International Leadership and Business Solutions (Vice-président Leadership et Solutions d’Affaires  —  Internationale) at Global Knowledge Canada

Once the top priorities are defined, the executive team establishes specific measures for those priorities. These metrics are incorporated into the senior executives’ performance objectives. Using the performance management system, accountabilities cascade down to the next level where managers discuss with their bosses specific goals and accountabilities that align with corporate goals. Managers then do the same with their direct reports, translating departmental goals, all the while maintaining alignment with corporate goals.

It’s essential that an employee participate fully in determining how he or she can realize those priorities. It’s also critical that all expectations be based on specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound — SMART — criteria. More companies are beginning to publish the performance goals of executives and managers for all to see — as direct reports are impacted by those goals and can adjust accordingly. In particular, tools like corporate dashboards and balanced scorecards, which track progress on business and cultural strategies, are gaining in popularity because they offer multiple performance views that all can see.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with the Ontario Securities Commission Guidelines and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are other prime examples of the importance of everyone having a stake in a company’s future: an organization’s CEO and management team have primary compliance responsibility, but they can’t be everywhere at all times. They must rely on their lower level managers and front line workers to follow the law on a daily basis and to fulfill record-keeping requirements. A performance management program that clearly articulates corporate, unit, and individual responsibilities, then cascades them down through the organization, effectively aligns corporate goals, values, accountabilities and execution toward a common and essential goal: regulatory compliance.

Certainly the best performers get better results than organizations that assess progress just once each year. Two examples are James Kilts, president and CEO of The Gillette Co., and Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Inc. Both review senior executive performance quarterly. Frequent monitoring of performance progress simply makes it easier to make mid-course business strategy corrections such as growth strategy versus cost management and to cascade those changes down through the organization.

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Republished with permission from CA Magazine.

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