Performance measures are typically used by organizations to implement and drive strategic objectives. They are also used to reward employees financially and measure if a company is meeting its goals. For many organizations, performance measures are quantitative. Performance is largely determined by financial measurements, which is a disadvantage when it comes to achieving long-term results, adequate levels of customer satisfaction and employee creativity. The idea of implementing qualitative performance measures brings several advantages, including the achievement of long-term organizational goals, higher levels of customer loyalty and enhanced predictions about long-term financial performance.
When companies establish certain financial goals, it tends to create an atmosphere where short-term earnings become more valuable than the factors that cause them. For example, sales organizations often set quotas or a specific dollar amount of revenue that needs to be achieved by its staff during a certain period. Since the satisfactory performance of the employees is contingent upon achieving a specific dollar amount, they may become too focused on the objective. The employees may lose sight of their customers' needs and allow service or satisfaction to suffer in lieu of achieving a certain sales volume.
Since performance measures tend to encourage somewhat rigid behavioral outcomes, they might result in a loss of creativity. Employees become focused on modifying their work habits to align with the certain methods and procedures that produce a rewarded outcome. This may discourage employees from experimenting with innovative solutions that might produce a better result. In some cases, performance measures might also encourage unethical behavior. For example, a sales representative might coerce an account into letting him accumulate excess inventory to meet his monthly sales quota.
Implementing qualitative performance measures alongside financial measurements tends to create a balance between a company's tangible and intangible assets. Measuring items such as service quality and customer satisfaction encourages long-term financial success by increasing levels of customer loyalty. As service levels improve, customers are more likely to continue patronizing an organization. Forming strong relationships between a company's staff and its customers encourages repeat business and might lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.
A combination of both qualitative and quantitative performance measures provides a better indication of how a company may perform in the long run. While financial measures may indicate a short-term loss for a long-term capital project, measuring the qualitative benefits received from its implementation may indicate potential future profits. Likewise, implementing changes in company procedures, which increase customer satisfaction and acquisition, may lead to increased long-term revenue.
Helen Akers specializes in business and technology topics. She has professional experience in business-to-business sales, technical support, and management. Akers holds a Master of Business Administration with a marketing concentration from Devry University's Keller Graduate School of Management and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.