By Goodnough, Angelique
Journal of Property Management , Vol. 55, No. 3
In 1986 our property management company conducted a detailed employee attitude survey. Although the company was experiencing a period of high growth and employee opportunity, our survey revealed that most employees had no idea of corporate values or goals or of how their job contributed to company plans. Employees were dissatisfied with a lack of stated objectives and the absence of regular feedback on their performance.
In response to these findings, the PERFORM system was developed by our Human Resource Department. PERFORM combines specific job descriptions and objectives with regular performance evaluations. Prior evaluation methods relied on subjective supervisory observation or ratings based on very general skills or attitudes. PERFORM focuses on the specific goals each individual is expected to attain within a specific timeframe and measures the progress toward those goals.
The job description for each position is divided into several "domains," or areas of responsibility. Figure 1 is a sample job description for assistant manager/leasing agent. The domain lists the specific duties for that general area, such as: assist manager with resident renewals." The PERFORM system develops a corresponding goal and objective for each domain.
In the example above, a goal is: assist manager with resident renewals on a monthly basis. A specific objective would be: "increase resident renewals to 80 percent by contacting residents before sending renewal notices to set up appointments with them" Figure 2). Each domain on the job description is covered by a goal and specific objectives. The supervisor may elect to concentrate on one domain, providing several objectives, or cover all domains and limit specific objectives assigned in each.
The employee and supervisor work together in determining the goals and objectives. The employee is urged to participate so that the goals are realistic and the timeframe for achieving them is reasonable.
By participating in goal setting, the employee has a stake in the outcome. He or she knows precisely what is expected and when and how it is to be accomplished. Employees should also have a clear understanding of how the objectives fit into their job descriptions. The supervisor should explain how the individual's contribution furthers corporate or property objectives.
The employee, the supervisor, and the department supervisor all sign the PERFORM goals. This final step helps ensure that PERFORM goals are consistent with corporate or departmental objectives.
When the PERFORM goals sheet is completed, employee and supervisor agree on a date for the next review, usually three to six months in the future. A PERFORM file is established for the employee, which is retained by the supervisor. The file contains the PERFORM goals, job description, and evaluation instructions. Each employee also retains a copy of his or her own PERFORM goals.
During the rating period, the PERFORM goals are reviewed periodically. Supervisors are encouraged to keep a record of employee performance on specific objectives and an "Employee Action Log" is provided in the PERFORM file for this purpose.
Prior to the scheduled review date, the employee receives an "Employee Self-Evaluation Form." This is a questionnaire to be completed by the employee to prepare for the evaluation. It includes questions such as "What have my major accomplishments been during the past rating period and how have they related to my goals and objectives?' " In which areas could my performance have been more effective?;' and "How can my supervisor help me to be more effective in the future?" A copy of the completed self-evaluation is given to the supervisor prior to the evaluation.
The supervisor also prepares for the evaluation by reading the employee's self-evaluation, analyzing the Employee Action Log, and reviewing the PERFORM goals. …