One of Roberts' clients, the IT department in a large pharmaceutical company, has a report card that considers business-unit satisfaction levels, which it then uses to assess how well IT teams are delivering on stated goals. "The metrics are changing from the heads-down technology metrics," he says. "Now it's on business results and the business value they're bringing to the organization."
Stephen Olive, CIO at Philips Healthcare in Andover, Mass., says his 500-member IT department sees itself as a strategic partner, so he's judging success on what IT is doing for the business and what value it delivers. "That pulls you away from your traditional performance programs," he says.
While Olive still considers cost and schedule when thinking about employee performance, determining whether IT workers meet those standards is now a smaller aspect of how he evaluates their performance, he says. Like other managers, he now looks for and measures on more esoteric factors, such as teamwork and cooperative behavior as well as understanding business goals and how to achieve them.
Olive points to the rollout at his company of Salesforce.com, which recently went live to 750 users. The success of that IT project is being measured by managers' and users' testimonials on whether the application helps them do their jobs better or more efficiently, "and you share that with your IT employees, so they know we're making an impact on the business."
While Philips Healthcare does have a formal performance development process -- which includes an annual goal-setting session and a midyear formal review where managers meet with their workers and provide written feedback -- the company's ongoing, informal performance-review mechanisms are more likely to capture the business value Olive is after.
How you evaluate [IT performance] is really about what you're doing for the business and what value you add. Stephen Olive, Philips Healthcare
Managers use "assessors," key people surrounding individual IT workers, to gather feedback on that employee's performance, which can then be used to better evaluate his or her strengths and weaknesses, explains Jean Scire, senior director of information systems at Philips, who reports to Olive. Depending on the project, an employee's direct manager, a business unit colleague or the business unit lead on a project could serve as an assessor. Employees generally have two assessors, Scire says, and their comments are formally documented.
The frequency of gathering this type of feedback varies, but managers are expected to do so on an ongoing basis. The goal, she says, is to ensure that there aren't any surprises when the midyear and year-end formal meetings roll around.
Olive says these assessments help ensure IT workers are evolving to keep pace with changing job requirements.
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