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The phrase “measuring team performance” is often misunderstood. Dr. Allyn Hertzbach of the Federal Aviation Administration and Karen Lebing of OPM’s Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division defined this terminology and presented options for using team measures in their session at OPM’s National Performance Management Conference about “Measuring Team Performance.”
Measuring team-related performance can be approached in at least four ways. Two of those approaches measure performance at the individual level and two measure performance at the team level.
Individual Level: An Individual’s Contribution to the Team
Individual Behavior. Employees can be measured on how well they work with team members. Examples of these types of measures could include the degree to which: the employee participates in team meetings; the employee volunteers for team projects; the employee communicates with members in a constructive and non-threatening manner; other members find that the employee is pleasant to work with and fosters cooperation.
Individual Results. Employee work products that contribute to the final team product or service can be assessed and verified. Examples of these types of measures could include error rates, the timeliness of the product, the number of suggestions made, or the accuracy of the data provided.
Team Level: Measuring the Team’s Performance
The Team’s Processes. The team can be measured on its internal group dynamics. These types of measures could address: how well the team works together as a group; the effectiveness of team meetings; the ability of the team to reach consensus; and the team’s problem-solving techniques.
The Team’s Results. The team can be measured on its work results or products. These types of measures could include: the number of cases completed; the use, acceptance, and understandability of the team’s final report; the number of customer requests for the team’s report; the subscription rate of the team’s newsletter.
These types of measures can be applied with the three types of performance elements that can be used in the performance appraisal process.
- A critical element is a work assignment or responsibility of such importance that unacceptable performance on the element would result in a determination that an employee’s overall performance is unacceptable. Because critical elements are limited to addressing individual performance, only the individual level measures of contribution to the team and individual results could be used as critical elements.
- Non-critical elements can be a dimension or aspect of individual, team, or organizational performance that is measured and used in assigning a summary level. In the past, “non-critical” meant “not as important.” However, programs can be designed so that non-critical elements have as much weight or more weight than critical elements in determining the final summary level. Since it is only through non-critical elements that group or team level performance can be factored into an employee’s summary level determination, using non-critical elements can be a useful tool for setting group goals, planning group work, measuring group performance, and providing feedback on group performance.
- Additional performance elements address a dimension or aspect of individual, team, or organizational performance that is not used in determining summary levels. Additional elements are used for various other purposes, such as setting goals, providing feedback on individual or group performance, and recognizing individual or group achievements.
In summary, session attendees learned about four ways of measuring team performance and found ways to incorporate team elements and measures into performance appraisal programs.