Satisfaction Appraisals: What Performance Reviews Could Actually Be

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What is the real measure of how well you’re doing your job?

Not the number of widgets you turn out each day, but whether the widget buyer is satisfied with them.

Not the number of calls you take or make in a week, but whether the customers you talk to are satisfied after the call.

Not whether you met your targets, booked your sales, processed your paperwork, trimmed your budget, churned out the standard number of parts, made your numbers. All of these things are ways of doing the only job you need to be doing – satisfying customers.

Performance reviews, those annual exercises in creative futility, measure too many of the wrong things. “Performance” tends to focus work inward. They force you to pay attention to checklists rather than processes, time cards rather than time well spent, standards and metrics rather than happy clients and customers.

Whether your work is in front of those paying customers or in the back room supporting the business, you have customers. It could be your boss, but most likely it’s the people who rely on the work you do to get their own jobs done. And the real goal is to satisfy them.

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What if your next performance appraisal was, instead, a “satisfaction” appraisal, where the real measure is the satisfaction of customers? Not how many forms you processed or bolts you tightened, but how many problems you solved for the people who depend on you?

That sounds like a measure worth pursuing.

This was originally published on Steve Laird’s editor & writer blog.