How to Hire Better Employees and Reduce Turnover with Performance Profiles

By Matt Raymond

A case of misaligned expectations is a recipe for trouble whether it’s with your customers, employees, or during a family vacation.

I’m writing this while working remotely on Cape Cod at a cottage we’ve rented for nearly twenty years. It has a private beach, housekeeping, and an amazing view from the kitchen table. Here’s what I’m looking at right now:

Employee performance profiles let you hire better talent and reduce employee turnover

However, when we arrived yesterday, a few things had unexpectedly changed. A new management company was in place and we learned that laundry was now our responsibility. This means an inconvenient trip or two to the nearest laundromat 30 minutes away. We were also missing a second key and instead of walking a hundred yards to the onsite office, I left a voicemail for a guy named Dan (his name and number were left on a Post-It note on the fridge – “Questions? Call Dan.”).

Dan still hasn’t called me back.

I share this story because understanding and agreeing on expectations is so critical to positive experiences. And in the context of hiring great talent and building your company, a misalignment here can waste a huge amount of resources and breed negativity throughout the workforce.

Let’s face it, attracting great talent is difficult. Hiring is a taxing process, and keeping employees happy and engaged takes a tremendous amount of work. That said, do it well and the results can be amazing(ly profitable) for your business. What’s the first thing you need to get right to improve your success? The job description. Or rather, the performance profile.

Advantages of Performance Profiles vs. Traditional Job Descriptions

Traditionally, job descriptions were written to focus on the job duties as well as the desired skills that the new employee should possess. This job posting method is still often used by companies, but hiring managers are starting to see that this method isn’t as effective as it used to be. The drawback to job descriptions is that the details are often too general, causing recruiters to overlook performance history, and candidates to misunderstand the job’s expectations.

Performance profiles, however, are results focused, helping you identify employees who possess the skills to deliver specific outcomes that align with your organizational goals.

For example, a traditional job description might list: “Previous sales experience preferred.” In contrast, a performance profile would specify a quantifiable result: “Achieve monthly sales quota of $10,000.”

Define Performance Expectations Rather than Required Skills

The benefit of using performance profiles is that you can define the results that you would like the new hire to possess. This method outlines what success looks like regarding results and numbers, rather than looking at general skills or characteristics that are only hopeful indicators of success.

Recruiters agree that past performance is a good measurement of the possibility of future success. If you find an employee who met certain markers in their previous employment, then there’s a good chance that have the tools to bring those same results to your company. Looking at the candidate’s history gives you the opportunity to predict future performance.

7 Benefits of Employee Performance Profiles

  • Clarify expectations for new hires
  • Improve accuracy in your candidate assessment
  • Reduce turnover
  • Speed up the time that it takes to hire new employees
  • Boost new hire success, helping to improve employee satisfaction
  • Streamline the hiring process
  • Attract the right candidates

Higher Employee Retention Starts Before Your Hire

If you’re experiencing a higher turnover rate than what you think is acceptable, it may be rooted in the pre-hire stage of the employment process. Are your candidates understanding the expectations—and outcomes—for the role? If not, revising your job posts as well as the questions asked during the interview process to focus on results can set both the candidate and your organization up for a successful partnership.