A quantitative measurement of job performance uses numerical results instead of a subjective evaluation. An employee who completes more tasks than coworkers may prefer a quantitative measurement, which assigns rewards based on the number of sales or the number of satisfied customers. Quantitative measurement isn't suitable for all tasks, so employers often use qualitative measurement to include subjective quality factors as well.
The purpose of quantitative measurement is to provide an unbiased measure to make decisions. When an employer selects quantitative measurement, the employer can specify several levels of performance, according to the Office of Personnel Management. The employer, for example, could state that the employee needs to advise five clients each day to meet the minimum standard, while seven is the expected standard, and 10 will make the employee eligible for a promotion.
Quantitative standards must be updated if the employee's job changes. If the employee's job performance is rated based on the tasks performed at the old job, such as fixing bugs in a computer program, it won't be effective if the employee is assigned to provide phone support to clients. According to the University of California, Berkeley, qualitative objectives are more helpful when an employee's work tasks widely vary. The employer should also periodically review the job standards every few years, or more often if necessary, to ensure that they're not out of date.
Quantitative standards reduce the perception of discrimination. If an employee receives a promotion, other employees may think an employee got the job because she went to the same college as the manager. Another employee may think that the boss holds a racial prejudice against him. When the promotion is clearly based on how much work an employee has done, the employees will have less cause to complain.
Quantitative standards are a useful choice when an employee works remotely. When an employee is telecommuting, the manager isn't present at the employee's house to monitor job performance. The employer may want to set up a numerical measurement so it's possible to compare the job performance of the telecommuting worker to a worker who's at the company's main site. An employer may allow an employee to telecommute only if quantitative standards for the job exist.
When an employer uses quantitative standards, it's important to measure the right aspects of the job. For example, if a farmer pays a worker based on the weight of the apples the worker picks, this gives the worker an incentive to pick even damaged apples, since this will increase the total weight of apples picked. The employer should not use the number of tasks completed alone — it must also rate the work for quality.