By Charlotte Morris
So, you are the new kid on the block and have to deliver your performance data to the executive team by noon. Unfortunately, the prospect of an on-time delivery is not currently good. The question for you at this point should not be “How did this happen?” It should be “How do I make sure it does not happen again?” The answer to that question is, you must prepare yourself for the inevitable. Measuring the results of performance improvement programs can be complicated for anyone who is new to the process. To avoid a hair-pulling and migraine-inducing episode involving performance measurement, you need to develop a strong knowledge base. This can be accomplished by following four basic rules.
Rule number 1 is “stay informed.” In today’s performance measurement environment, informative resources are easy to locate. For example, if you want to keep up with the latest trends, you can participate in industry-sponsored webinars. The majority of these webinars are conducted during a regular workday. They generally take place in the early afternoon, normally during or right after a scheduled lunch hour. These virtual sessions often target a specific area of performance measurement; therefore, you can pick and choose what best suits your needs. Another plus with webinars is that many of them are offered free of charge.
Rule number 2 is “read publications from industry insiders.” No matter where you figure into the performance measurement process, there is probably a publication that can be of benefit to you. For instance, if you are seeking detailed information about how to calculate return on investment, try the book 10 Steps to Successful Business Alignment by Patricia and Jack Phillips. For quick tips you can also turn to industry magazines. These publications feature articles by industry experts who can provide valuable insight into current trends related to performance measurement. This is another cost-effective option because there are many free subscriptions available for online versions of industry magazines.
Rule number 3 is “become a member of an industry association that focuses on performance measurement.” Being a member of an industry association will allow you the opportunity to network with other colleagues on a frequent basis. Brainstorming in a group atmosphere is a constructive way to figure out the intricacies of performance measurement. Industry associations hold regular events that can provide you with ample opportunities for ongoing participation.
Finally, rule number 4 is “get more hands-on experience.” Be mindful that you will learn from your successes and your mistakes. Do not be afraid to try new processes and then experiment, experiment, experiment. The more direct exposure you have to the performance measurement process, the better. The truth is you will not really know what works for you and what does not until you have tried different forms of measurement. There are not really any one-size-fits-all solutions, but you may discover a particular formula that works better for you than others. Remember the best mantra to adhere to is to be prepared. Preparation requires time and commitment, but the good news is you will eventually be able to deliver performance data to the executive team by noon or whenever it is needed.
About the Author
Charlotte Morris is a training coordinator with Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI). She is a member of the Potomac Chapter of ISPI and specializes in learning design and educational technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies and technical communication from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Arts in education from Michigan State University. She can be reached by email at CMorris@pepcoholdings.com