Quality Standards: How They Impact Employee Performance
Organizations share the same goals: providing quality products, services, and experiences to their customers while still maintaining margins. Establishing quality policies and procedures, and measuring employee performance, helps you understand and manage how well you’re achieving this. However, it requires quality standards that are practical and sustainable, rather than idealized. Measuring performance can tell you not only a lot about your quality control process, but the impact of your quality requirements on your employees.
Setting Performance Standards
Quality control standards should be realistic and equitable.
That involves following a few sensible practices.
1. Standards must reflect individual objectives, not the team or company aggregates.
2. They should be a concrete indicator of real performance, not an indicator of probable outcomes.
3. Standards should focus only on those aspects of maintaining quality for which the employee has control.
4. Means and metrics should be in place for fair and accurate recording. Results should not be contaminated by irrelevant or random measures.
In order to have the most positive impact on employees, there are a few other things to bear in mind when establishing quality control metrics and conducting employee reviews.
Motivation is always a challenge across a diverse staff. You can help facilitate this by developing quality standards that are also motivational, such as leading to incentives or career opportunities, rather than simple praise or criticism.
Higher quality standards
Setting goals for improvement should provide a challenge; quality-level targets that are too soft or are matched too consistently will not be motivators for significant change.
Unrealistic quality standards
At the other extreme of quality management are standards that seem unattainable. For instance, if perfect scores are dependent on perfect workflows that rarely exist, employees see this as unrealistic and won’t even try.
Often statistical and other metrics are too complex for employees to appreciate. Your people should understand how and why their performance results are measured before they’ll make an effort to improve.
Employees don’t know that they are being measured
In some cases managers will only bring up the subject of quality metrics during employee reviews, or post charts on only a quarterly or annual basis. If employees are to make continuous efforts, they need to know where they stand through daily or weekly postings.
Managers should communicate to each employee on a fairly regular basis what their quality expectations are. Standards for veteran employees may vary widely from new hires. Each employee should understand what’s expected of quality improvement and in what time frame, such as bi-monthly or bi-annually.
Real work environments
It is still important for upper management to establish quality metrics by team or department in order to make business decisions at a wider scale. This may seem unfair; simpler job roles might naturally have higher quality ratings than technical work where quality management is more complex and more easily measured. Managers must determine their own goals and metrics, and apply them in a way that best motivates their staff.
Looking for assistance with improving your company’s current quality standards?
President, Ledge Inc.
Adam is a Penn State engineer that has served as a Data Analyst and Engineer at St. Onge Company for 5 years, prior to establishing Ledge Inc. While maintaining a focus on simple solutions, Ledge Inc. has provided quality system implementation, process design, database development, quality tools, quality training, and data analysis to over 35 companies in South Central Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Adam currently serves as the sitting Chair for American Society for Quality Harrisburg Section 503 and as a member of the board for The Manufacturers’ Associations of South Central PA.