Workplace Culture

Dear Workforce How Do We Measure Team Performance as Part of Annual Assessments

By Staff Report

Jul. 19, 2011

Dear Go Team Go:

The elements of teamwork have not really changed over time, but the work environment certainly has. Extensive research in this area shows that there are unique behaviors that create “excellence” in teams. One of the best researchers on this topic is Frank LaFasto, former executive at Cardinal Health Inc. and an author and consultant on team effectiveness.

LaFasto’s research reveals eight characteristics that are the hallmarks of excellence on work teams. They include:

1. Clear and elevating goal for the team

2. Results-driven structure

3. Competent team members

4. Collaborative climate

5. Unified commitment

6. Standards of excellence

7. External support and recognition

8. Principled leadership

To measure the presence or absence of these characteristics, some companies successfully implement a pulse survey rather than a 360-degree assessment. This can be done in cross-functional or department-specific teams. The data support identifying possible changes in team performance as well as individual performance.

This survey can be done with ease on a quarterly basis for the intact or functional team. The survey helps you take the “pulse” of your workforce: how the team believes it is working together on the elements your company identifies as keys to success. This feedback can help a team and its individual members determine where they are effective or where they need help.

Use a seven-point scale to gauge people’s views about how the team is operating today. Use a second scale to measure how the team needs to operate to meet the future demands of your business. The gap between the two pinpoints areas you need to address as team. It provides an opportunity to measure progress.

This feedback offers the team immediate data on how they are performing. If you decide not to build a survey, a second option would be to facilitate monthly or quarterly discussions with the team members, centered on management practices, process and systems. Are the team and its members clear on strategic priorities, “deliverables” and processes, so that there is well-thought-out decision-making? Or are there obstacles that must be overcome before the team can achieve the desired results?

This discussion, which can be done at one of the scheduled team sessions, helps you identify organizational issues that get in the way of team excellence. What can the team and members do to diminish or eliminate these issues?

Whether your teams are in human resources, marketing or finance, encourage them to assess their own results and individual contributions. This will generate more objective discussions about strengths and weaknesses, and better highlight ways to improve performance.

SOURCE: Sherry Benjamins, S. Benjamins & Co. Inc., Seal Beach, California

LEARN MORE: As companies rely more on work teams, they may also have to adopt different strategies for recognizing team goals.

Workforce Management Online, July 2011Register Now!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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