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Why is it Important to Create Performance Benchmarks?

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According to LeadershipIQ, 46% of employees will fail within a year in a half of hiring. This is partly due to ineffective hiring methods that fail to spot warning signs or, perhaps worse still, fail to spot traits and attitudes that indicate success. Yet these inferior approaches to hiring persist and are often simple cases of carelessness. Many hiring managers remain unaware of the latest research about the best hiring methods. There are many ways to improve the process, but using benchmarks based on pre-employment assessment tests allows you to compare potential hires to employees who are proven successes.

Performance Benchmarks can assist in hiring as well as the coaching of present employees. In both of these scenarios, understanding the skills and attributes of your employees can make the task at hand much easier. However, simple understanding can be difficult to translate into meaningful action. Presenting the information by using benchmarks is more objective and makes it much easier to share information with others.

Performance benchmarks are the lowest and the highest scores or measurements of high-performing employees. These scores can be determined by having employees take the pre-employment assessment tests associated with the values you want to measure. For example, you may be interested in measuring the skills of all your sales staff and therefore choose a sales-specific test. A well-designed test for salespeople will highlight the skills necessary for that position.

Use your top performers’ scores to gauge prospective hires or review skill development with your current employees. After your successful employees take the relevant pre-employment assessment test, note the lowest and highest scores in each area. Is there anything about a specific individual’s work that you notice is reflected in the scores? Are there any surprises?

The lowest score of your well-performing and valuable employees should be a rough minimum score for your future hires. Not only can you use this for a straight comparison to future applicants’ tests, but you can also use it to predict the future performance of a candidate who scores within that range. If they do indeed fall within it, then it is likely that they will be able to perform the tasks required.

Note that other factors such as personality, motivation, and experience are still significant. Even a candidate who falls somewhat out of the range on a trait or two may still be a good fit for a job. Multiple instances of scoring outside the range may be indicative of a poor fit or future problems.

Performance benchmarks are an important investment in your hiring process. Part of avoiding the mistakes many companies make when hiring is to actually have a thoughtful, well-designed process. This may already put you above the competition. Drawing on your knowledge of your employees and administering pre-employment assessment tests is an important step in constructing a reliable action plan. Even if you find yourself unexpectedly searching for a candidate, you will have the tools your need to not only jump start the process but do so in a manner that is grounded in real measurements of success.

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