Key behavioral indicators for employees can help you to measure and reward high-performance. By predetermining which performance factors contribute positively to the organization or positively to an individual role, you can create a framework with which to measure success beyond simply meeting the requirements of the job. Key behavioral indicators are a crucial element of competency frameworks, because they give you the tools to guide leaders to accurately measure employee performance based on factors that impact total success in a role.
This is valuable not only during end-of-year performance measurement but also when determining employee rewards, selecting candidates for promotion, and choosing candidates to move into leadership and vertical roles (such as IT Manager to Senior IT Manager).
What are behavioral indicators, and why do they matter so much?
When evaluating performance, managers often use a framework of competencies and behavioral indicators.
A competency is a set of skills and knowledge that is required for a certain role. For example, one of the core competencies for a leader would be communication. However, some of these are too broad to evaluate, so in order to break it down, specialists use behavior indicators that comprise a specific competency.
Behavior indicators serve as valuable assessments of personal traits, skills, and knowledge. Someone can fulfill his or her tasks and meet their goals and objectives, but at the same time, you can use those indicators to identify who will go the extra mile.
So behavioral indicators help managers identify the strongest players in the team and reward them with things like raises and promotions, which would positively affect the overall relationship and helps them contributes even more to a company’s growth.
Organizational Key Behavioral Indicators for Employees
In most cases, it is crucial that you work to develop a list of organizational key behavior indicators, which applies to all employees in every role. This is developed at an organizational level to ensure that every employee shows the integrity, work ethic, and other behavioral standards expected of the organization as a whole.
For example: (The Employee)
- Demonstrates and applies the knowledge and skills to perform their role effectively
- Understands and works within company regulation and culture, following laws, policies, regulations, and procedures.
- Continuously works to improve
- Communicates with others, sharing and building knowledge with others
- Collaborates with others across the organization, offering assistance and actively being helpful where needed
- Effectively chooses and utilizes tools and knowledge to complete a task
These standards can help you to judge whether a person is being effective in their role rather than simply performing in it. For example, if you can identify that someone is not choosing efficient tools to do their work, that they are not communicating and not collaborating with others (and therefore slowing down work that relies on their expertise), and does not understand company procedure, you can easily identify that they are not a top employee, even if they are consistently meeting their own specific work output targets and goals because they aren’t contributing in any other way than direct tasks.
Role-Based Key Behavioral Indicators
While organizational-level key behavioral indicators are valuable for creating a company culture of communication and collaboration, you often need role-based KBI to measure the success of individuals in their roles. This means developing a custom competency framework to identify a) what success looks like in this role, b) which behaviors are necessary for success, c) which unlearnable behaviors are most crucial to this role (I.E., quick thinking, adaptability, willingness to work with others, etc.). Developing these key behavioral indicators makes it possible to measure individual roles, hire for those competencies, and measure how employees are contributing to the organization as a whole.
In almost every instance, developing custom key behavioral indicators is necessary for measuring individual success inside your company. However, most organizations work with an existing competency framework, adapted and customized to their individual organizational needs.
Examples of competencies and related behavioral indicators
To further clarify how behavioral indicators can help you place the right person in the right role, here’s an overview of the main traits to look for and key competencies for an effective employee or manager.
- Decision-making ability
- Leadership skills
- Strategic planning
These competencies are the key qualities that any effective employee should possess. Now, let’s look at each in more detail.
Communication implies building relationships and effectively communicating with both colleagues and clients. It is crucial to be able to explain own thoughts and ideas to other people and also listen to the feedback with the aim to improve and learn. Thus, the key behavioral indicators for this competency would include the following.
- Ability to recognize and understand the perspective of other people
- Ability to receive feedback and learn from it
- Ability to present information to the audience
- Great written and oral skills
- Ability to initiate dialogue and involve people in the communication process
- Ability to bring value to people by presenting them certain information
- Establishment of strong connections with people through communication
All these behavioral indicators show that a person respects the people with whom s/he communicates and wishes to make a certain impact or bring a certain value through efficient communication.
Behavioral indicators for this would include the ability to adequately assess the situation, make sound judgment, use relevant information to support the decision, and be able to distinguish useful information from the irrelevant one when making a decision.
A person should also be able to take responsibility for making a decision and understand the circumstances and consequences.
This competency is, perhaps, the most difficult one to understand and measure. Everyone understands the importance of being able to lead, but few can define what makes someone a great leader. Here are a few important behavioral indicators that make an effective leader.
- Positive influence on other people and their motivation
- Trust and credibility
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to serve as an example and act correspondingly
- Ability to take responsibility
- Ability to recognize the achievement of employees
- Ability to encourage, coach, teach and assist other people
In addition to demonstrating of a high level of expertise and knowledge, a good leader should know how to motivate people, encourage them, and gain their trust. Employees should always remember that they can approach their managers at any time for help or assistance.
Another crucial skill expected from an efficient employee is the ability to work in a team and be a valuable asset to one. Teamwork implies contribution to everyone’s work, organizational skills, a high level of cooperation, and the ability to efficiently organize both people and the workflow.
It’s important for someone to facilitate work with useful initiatives or suggestions. If a manager observes these behavioral indicators in an employee, s/he can rest assured that this particular employee knows how to work in a team and bring value to it.
Strategic planning is incredibly important for a good manager. However, this skill is also useful for any employee that wishes to optimize the work and improve their skills.
Strategic planning involves:
- Alignment of tasks and priorities with the set goals
- Review of alternative solutions and choice of the most suitable one
- Ability to measure the outcome
- Ability to see the “big picture” and act correspondingly
- Change management
- Ability to manage budget and resources
- Ability to establish practices and methodologies for efficient work
Summing up, the behavioral indicators we mentioned above show that a person is initiative and enthusiastic. In other words, such a person does not need to be told what to do but rather performs all the necessary tasks and sees other ways on how to optimize work and help others. Such specialists are a real value for any organization and should be correspondingly rewarded for their work and effort.