What Exactly is Fully Functioning?

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If we eliminate the word “expectations” from performance management terminology (see my last post), about 95% of the organizations in the United States are going to have to re-write their performance appraisal forms.  It is fair to ask what is going to replace that word, and my response is that we have to replace a word with a “state of mind.”  That state of mind is the understanding that we hire people to perform duties and responsibilities that the organization feels are necessary to meeting its objectives, and that we as employers should be measuring employees’ ability to perform those duties and responsibilities.

Let’s talk about “fully functioning.”  It’s not a pretty term, not awe inspiring and not deserving of a participation trophy, and I’ll be happy to entertain other terms, but it is descriptive, which ranks it very high compared to “expectations.”  It means doing whatever it is that’s being measured the way it is supposed to be done.  It means meeting a standard of performance, which will sometimes be measured objectively, and sometimes subjectively, but which can always be observed and described.  It means “does” not “can do.”

Is it that someone can show that they can do something listed on the job description?  That is certainly the starting point.  If we really mean that someone is fully functioning on a task, should we also know that:

  • the employee knows where that task or responsibility fits in all of the processes that the organization performs
  • the employee knows why the task or responsibility is performed the way it is