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Defining Performance Standards

Performance standards provide the employee with specific performance expectations for each major duty. They are the observable behaviors and actions which explain how the job is to be done, plus the results that are expected for satisfactory job performance. The purpose of performance standards is to communicate expectations. Keep in mind that good performance typically involves more than technical expertise.

Performance standards are:

  • Based on the position, not the individual
  • Observable, specific indicators of success
  • Meaningful, reasonable and attainable
  • Used to describe a "fully satisfactory" performance once an employee is trained
  • Expressed in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness, cost, or outcomes

In determining performance standards, consider the following:

  • What does a good job look like?
  • How many or how much is needed?
  • How long should it take?
  • When are the results needed?
  • How accurate or how good is acceptable?
  • Are there budget considerations?
  • Are there safety considerations?
  • Are there legislative or regulatory requirements that require strict adherence?
  • Are there behaviors that are expected in your department to promote teamwork, leadership, creativity, customer service?
  • What results would be considered satisfactory?
  • What condition will exist when the duty is well performed?
  • What is the difference between good and poor performance?
Last modified: April 4, 2008
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