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Article:

Peak Performance: Your Performance Standards

Your performance standards establish the link between the company's objectives and your job description. Your manager will translate corporate objectives into acceptable performance standards for your position given the tasks in the job description. The job description identifies measurable tasks, and the performance standards establish the acceptable levels for each of those tasks.

For example, if the job description for a loan officer at a bank says, "Identifies and assists prospective clients in the loan application process," the loan officer's performance standards for this task would relate to overall goals for quality, customer service, finance, and teamwork. So the loan officer might be expected to complete all paperwork accurately (quality); receive an satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5 from customers (customer service); process loans totaling a certain dollar amount and a certain number of customers (finance); and capably hand off all leads to other departments (teamwork).

Performance standards should be clear to both you and your employer so that you know what's expected of you and your manager has a basis for judgment.

When preparing for your performance review, review how well your accomplishments relate to the performance standards that have been set for you. For example, if your company emphasizes teamwork, cite instances in which you have worked effectively with colleagues or mobilized coworkers to come together to complete a project.

If you do not have formal performance standards, ask your manager to meet with you to discuss the relationship between your job description and the company's objectives. If you do have performance standards, revisit them with your manager every two to four months to adjust your mutual expectations as business conditions evolve.