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The evolution of the IT performance evaluation

Mary K. Pratt | Aug. 13, 2013
As IT responsibilities evolve, managers strive for better ways to measure techies' contributions.

"If you have a set of goals and if you only ever talk about them formally once a year, as many companies do, you're not going to be set up for success," Russell explains. "The more you talk about them, the more ingrained they are with your staff and managers, and the more likely you are to achieve those goals."

In the TEKsystems survey, 83% of the IT professionals polled said that formal feedback is either extremely important or important to their success. About half of them said they receive formal feedback once or twice a year, and 37% of them reported that they get formal feedback on at least a quarterly basis.

Respondents value informal feedback even more: 93% of the IT professionals said that regular, high-quality informal feedback is important to their success.

Yet, only 14% of the IT professionals and just 12% of the IT leaders said that informal feedback is given when performance deviates from expectations. Moreover, 15% of the IT professionals and 8% of the IT leaders said that informal feedback isn't given at all.

Assessing Value to the Business

The employee evaluation process should start with clearly defined goals and an understanding how each IT worker helps reach those goals, says Dan Roberts, president of Ouellette & Associates Consulting. Those goals should shape the metrics that are used to evaluate technologists, he says.

"The skill sets and competencies are changing, so we have to assess people in new ways, provide new frameworks, to see where they are with these new competencies," Roberts says. "More and more, they're being measured around relationships [and] how they're perceived by the business."

One of Roberts' clients, the IT department in a large pharmaceutical company, has a report card that takes into account business-unit satisfaction levels -- a metric is then used 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, 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.

While Olive still considers budgets and schedules when thinking about employee performance, determining whether IT workers meet those standards now plays a smaller role in the way he evaluates people. Like other managers, he now looks for and measures more esoteric qualities, such as teamwork and cooperative behavior, as well as the employee's understanding of business goals and how to go about achieving them.

By the Numbers

Importance of Informal Feedback


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