9 Ways To Quantify Your Performance At Work
Some of the world’s top companies like IBM, place great emphasis on measurable performance. For you to deliver a stellar performance you need clearly quantified goals and performance metrics that can be measured against outcomes and tracked. Even more importantly, you need quantified achievements and outcomes. If your achievements are largely subjective, you may find it difficult to establish your credentials for whatever it is that you are seeking.
Consider two people who are in the race for promotion to a Program Manager role in an IT company. One of the contenders has a clear track record of on-time deliveries, projects delivered within budget, high levels of customer satisfaction and written testimonials from clients on his work. The other contender has not really taken the trouble of setting up baseline budgets or efforts for his or her project and as such is unable to show what his or her contribution to the project was. Who do you think will get promoted?
Other things being equal, obviously, the one with demonstrated achievement metrics.
To really demonstrate your credentials you need quantified achievements and accomplishments. And, this does not happen by accident. You need to focus the entire year on specific areas that matter to you and your organization and also quantify all your accomplishments as they happen. If you wait until the end of the year to do this, you could miss some of your most important accomplishments.
Additionally, when you get to discussing your performance in that year either as a part of your annual appraisal or as a part of your promotion exercise, having metrics that quantify what you have achieved, puts you in a very strong position to achieve your objectives.
So, when it comes to your appraisal or your request for a promotion to the next level, the question you need to ask yourself is- can you quantify your performance?
You would be surprised how important, things that you think are trivial and unrelated to your core work can be. For instance, if you are a project manager and participate in a corporate social initiative that has nothing to do with your work, you could be at an advantage if you were to track and reflect it within the organization.
So, it is very important to compile a list of all your achievements that are quantifiable within a specific period. In doing so, try not to leave out even things that are not directly related to your work.
Here are some areas in addition to your regular work that you should quantify by applying metrics to reflect your holistic performance:
1. Corporate Social Responsibility Work Outside Your Company
Corporate social responsibility is gaining increasing importance in organizations. Have you done some community development work as a part of your company’s corporate social responsibility initiative? If so, this would be relevant to your accomplishments if you quantify the number of hours or days you have spent on it outside of your work and the cause you have contributed to. It would also enable your organization to aggregate employee contribution to that specific cause.
2. Participation in Corporate Initiatives Within The Company
Quite often organizations have initiatives driven at the corporate leadership level. These initiatives span the entire organization and are of importance to the entire organization. Have you actively worked on an organization-wide restructuring or driven a cost cutting exercise or any such initiative at the corporate level?
Perhaps you have been a part of an exercise to drive quality within the organization. If you have participated in and contributed to any such initiative over and above your work you should reflect it as a part of your performance.
3. Presentations At Industry Related Conferences
Have you made presentations at industry conferences? These would be relevant even if they were made in areas that are not currently within the ambit of your role? Tracking such presentations and reflecting it as a part of what you have achieved, would be of benefit to you.
4. Capacity Building That You Have Engaged In
Have you conducted training programs for your colleagues? If so, you have contributed to capacity building. You need to track the number of hours you have spent on these training programs and the number of such programs that you have conducted. It would also help if participants have given a feedback on your training and have rated you.
In the event that your organization does not have a mechanism to get participants feedback on the internal training program, you could circulate your own request for feedback at the end of your training program and collect all such feedback. This would go a long way in establishing the value of the training you’re provided.
5. Cross-Division Or Cross-Vertical Collaboration
Have you provided inputs to any other group or division within your organization? If so, this could be relevant to you if you keep track of what your inputs have enabled. For instance, if you have expertise in a certain technology your inputs may be taken for bids that pertain to some other group or division within your organization.
While, this may not be of direct relevance to your role in sales or delivery within your group or division or vertical. However, it is highly relevant at an organization level if your inputs enable another group to win a project since this is of relevance to the organization as a whole. Hence tracking such work and its outcomes could be beneficial to your career growth.
6. Papers You Have Published
Have you authored or contributed to a paper or concept note in the area of your expertise even if it is not the area that you are currently working on? Sometimes you may be working in a technology area but publish a paper in another technology area. While this may not directly result in any achievement from a project or role standpoint, the fact is it adds to your Thought Leadership initiatives.
7. Participation In Industry-Wide Initiatives
Have you contributed to Industry Bodies by virtue of being an office bearer? For instance, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has several working groups that have members nominated from companies who are themselves FICCI members. These working groups may deliberate on policy initiatives relevant to a specific industry and then interact with government leadership to shape government policies. If you have held a position within such groups and contributed to areas relevant to your industry, this will again be your Thought Leadership Initiative.
8. Emphasize The Quality Of Your Achievement
Let’s say you are working in the IT industry in a project manager’s role where you are being measured on on-time deliveries, adherence to cost budget, quality of deliverables and client satisfaction.
During the year you were assigned a project to manage in which three of your earmarked key resources were not available for your project. Despite this, you went ahead and delivered your project on time, within budget and to your client’s entire satisfaction. Now, this is where the quality of your achievement comes into play.
If you look at pure metrics you would have met your targets. However, if you do just that you will miss out on significant achievement that is not being recognized. In this case, it is the fact that you could achieve your goals despite a severe resource crunch where your key team members were not available.
That takes your achievement to a higher level as you have not just achieved your targets under normal conditions, but have achieved it under difficult conditions.
Take another example. Let’s say you are in a sales role and the industry segment that you are working in has been hit by recession. In such a scenario even if you were able to just achieve what you did in the previous year when the business environment was normal, it would be a significant achievement. This would be so, despite the fact that you have not been able to grow your business, for maintaining your market share in a declining market amounts to growing it in a booming market. But, you need to emphasize this point.
9. Succession Planning
Sometimes your own efficiency comes in the way of your career advancement. One of my colleagues who is very good at his work was not getting promoted despite excellent all-round performance.
When he analyzed the reason, he discovered it was because the management believed that there was no one else available who was as good as him for this particular role. It also so happened that the client was very keen that he should be directly deployed on that particular account. The net result was that he was neither getting to work on projects that he wanted nor moving ahead in his career.
To remedy the situation, he spent time on grooming one of his team members to operate in his role. He took this person with him to key client meetings, had him review critical deliverable and engaged him in project administrative work as well. The next time when his case came up to move to another role along with a promotion, it was accepted as both the company and the client saw a suitable successor.
Succession planning helps at any level and if you have spent time and effort training someone who is junior to you to step into your shoes, you have made a significant contribution to your organization.
The difference between high performers and others often boils down to one single factor- how well you quantify your performance not only in the context of your goals but also beyond it. And, this is where you need to harness the power of holistic performance metrics.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. – Peter Drucker
About the Author:
Srinivasan is an independent consultant working in the area of strategy and technology interventions in the public sector domain. He has worked in companies like IBM and TCS and has over 30 years of experience spanning 24 countries.