People & Human Resources

Performance appraisals – getting results

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To get results and improved performance from your people, you need to ensure they know what results they are aiming for and what is expected of them.
To get results and improved performance from your people, you need to ensure they know what results they are aiming for and what is expected of them!


If you have been following the last two weeks’ blogs (Performance appraisals – making the first step easy and Performance appraisals – love and hate) you will know that appraisals begin with PLANNING. If you are keen to get the performance appraisal process locked down and working for both you and staff, the next step is to determine key result areas.


Whether you are doing performance planning for teams or for individuals, it involves the same major steps: What is the overall goal, and what are the key result areas?


Last week I covered Peter Quarry’s approach to setting the overall goal for a person’s job. So now we need to break that goal down to a number of components – or key result areas. For many it is exciting to actually articulate and write down the key result areas of their jobs.


Determining key result areas means breaking down your job into components, about five to eight main components. Less than five and the job components will each be too big; more than eight, and you will have too many to manage. It’s simply labelling the different parts of a job – in very few words.


This can be done by a manager with their staff member. Listing the major components of a job like this allows both parties to review in broad terms whether the list represents a good overall picture of the job.


Once both manager and staff member are happy with the list, you can actually take each component and write it out in full using Quarry’s simple formula:


Key result area


All you have to do is fill in the blanks. First you write a verb such as achieve or implement or provide. Then, what it is you will achieve, or implement. Then the word “by”, which is how you will do this – the activities or tasks you will carry out.


Two examples:


Key result area: Monitoring & reporting


Ensure: The Finance and Human Resource departments receive required information concerning the team’s performance.

By: Collecting and accurately summarising all information regarding the team’s repair work and employee data and ensuring this information is conveyed on time.

Key result area: Training

Ensure: That all sales staff are fully skilled in product knowledge and consultative selling skills and all administrative matters.

By: Doing ongoing assessments of their training needs, arranging individual self-paced learning and conducting group training.

By writing out key result areas in full like this means both of you are getting very clear about what the person is aiming to achieve as well as what you they are expected to do in order to achieve it. It’s all about getting clear about what’s expected.


Some people starting this process feel they can list 10 or 20 major components of their job – but they need to bunch some of these together. But which components do you bunch together, and which do you leave on their own?


Key result areas should accurately reflect the current job.


When you write these plans down, it’s not forever. Changes happen and job requirements change, and so will the key result areas need to be changed, according to particular circumstances.


Next we will look at strategies for identifying performance standards.




Psychologist Eve Ash is managing director of Seven Dimensions and co-producer with Peter Quarry of the Ash.Quarry Productions video Determining Key Result Areas (Reinventing Appraisals Series)


For more Eve Ash blogs, click here.



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