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Benchmarking Performance in a New Role
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The first days, weeks and even months in a new role can be a blur of new names, faces, tasks, responsibilities, and targets. It can be a lot to manage, and focusing on numerous new and changing dynamics can be tough. While on one hand, you are concentrating on building friendships and professional relationships, on the other you may well be getting to grips with new processes, new systems and new ways of approaching your job. That leaves very little time to consider how you are performing and whether you are meeting goals.
However being able to properly benchmark your performance in a new role is important and by putting a structure in place, you can ensure that while you are focusing on getting to grips with your new role you are also making progress towards goals and having a positive impact on your new company. These five steps should set you up well for benchmarking performance and ensuring that you are getting results.
1. Have clearly established goals and targets from the outset
If you stand any chance of meeting goals and hitting targets you’ll need to be clear on exactly what those targets are. As early as possible in your new role, you should make time to discuss this with your manager. Ensure that you agree on what your targets are, how success will be measured in your role and if possible establish a timeline on your key goals.
It is also a good idea to schedule time down the line to review progress, perhaps a reoccurring meeting with your manager in which you can both review progress and arrange any assistance you might need.
2. Understand what success in your role looks like
As mentioned above, it is imperative that you have a clear picture of what success looks like in your role. Depending on what you do, success will be measured differently and may even look quite different to previous or similar roles at other organizations. Don’t assume that you can predict this based on a job title or on your previous experience, every organization has a range of priorities and will see job roles differently. This should come from your manager and be aligned with the wider goals of your department/ organization.
Just as important as understanding success is establishing what metrics it will be measured by. Is this improved efficiency, better conversions, more sales, stronger collaboration across teams? Whatever you do there will be a metric by which success in your role is measured. Establish this early and understand where you will need to get to in order to be considered a success in your new role.
3. Plan ahead
Once you know your goals and targets and have established what success will look like down the line, you should endeavor to establish a timeline against those targets. For example, if you have a project to deliver in six months’ time, break it down by month and give yourself targets to meet as you work towards the eventual goal. This way you can ensure that you are working towards set goals and can avoid the complacency that may seep in when deadlines are months away.
This will also allow you to balance different projects, goals, and targets down the line as you take on more responsibility in your new role.
4. Make time to measure progress against targets
It’s all very well having goals, targets, schedules, and benchmarks but if you do not take the time to review and assess progress, you will struggle to meet them and it will all be for nothing. Schedule reoccurring sessions where you can objectively review progress and if necessary move things around to allow you to achieve what you set out to. It may also be helpful to have a manager involved or even those you are collaborating with.
5. Ask for assistance
One thing that far too many people fail to do is ask for help when they need it. There can be a tendency to want to cover up failings or internalize concerns, particularly when one is new in a role. We all want to appear in control and on top of our work and there can be the perception that asking for assistance is an admission of weakness or a lack of the necessary skills. This is not the case, very few jobs don’t require a level of collaboration and asking for this should be something we do all the more often.