Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Equitable System for Evaluating Personnel

In my communications with security practitioners, I frequently hear the lament about the inadequacy of standards or criteria used for evaluating personnel (and I suspect that this is an issue in many other industries as well). So in an attempt to shed some light on a subject for which I was personally responsible during my years as a Security Director, I offer the following insights:

The fact that there can be so many variables in a person’s employment situation – the type of enterprise, location of facilities, reporting structure, philosophy of immediate supervisor, etc. – makes it of utmost importance to have a performance evaluation system in place that accounts for these differences.

I have always believed that every job title needed 3 corresponding personnel-related formal documents:

Job Description - This is a document unique to a job title, applicable to anyone with that job title. It contains the formal, HR-based, legally-required information such as generalized duties and responsibilities; reporting structure; OSHA and FLSA classifications; salary grade; minimum knowledge, skills and abilities required; working conditions, etc.

Performance Expectations – This is a document unique to a job title, applicable to anyone with that job title. It contains the general guidelines outlining what is minimally expected and required of any and all individuals in a given job title – what is minimally necessary to succeed in and retain the job.

Performance Standards - This is a document related to a job title, but customized and tailored specifically to each employee with that job title. It contains the objective, measurable and quantifiable standards common to the job title, which are then apportioned and weighted in a unique way to each individual based on the individual’s unique combination of experience and situation (as a very simplified example: the performance standards for every individual with the “LP Agent” job title contains a line item for “making external apprehensions.” But Joe’s standard is weighted at 30 percent because Joe has 3 years of company experience, 2 years of prior experience, and is assigned to a store with many external problems; while Jim’s standard is weighted at only 10 percent because he is a new, inexperienced agent assigned to a store with very few external problems). The Performance Standards then forms the basis for the numerical point total or “grade” that the individual gets at his performance evaluation, and which is then directly and objectively linked to any merit salary raise (for example: 79 points equals a 2.5 percent increase).

After MANY years in management, this is still the most equitable way I know of to account for each employee’s unique situation, rate every employee on an equitable, objective basis, and take away any challengeable differences in salary administration.