Team performance is now a central part of many professions, though it’s rarely the only thing jobs depend on. Managers now have a difficult task in deciding how heavily teamwork should affect individual ratings and how much individual contributions should influence team scores.

Where to Link Individual Performance With Team Performance

When rating team performance, you begin in the same place you would for individual assessment: an overall goal. Since few “teams” in the workplace are spontaneous, management will likely have greater input into a group goal than in an individual’s personal objectives.

Handing down a goal from on high without accounting for the individual team members’ personalities means the group’s performance is likely to be lackluster. You have a reason for creating the team, but allow the individual members to have input in the process. One way to create more investment in the team is to link the goals of individual members to the team’s function.

Identifying and Aligning Goals

This can be accomplished by seeing what the individual team members hope to accomplish and harnessing that goal to the team’s function. Pointing out connections between the objective and the employee’s aspirations can be a wonderful motivator. Although this may seem complicated, it can be as simple as gathering the group together and telling them what you need done and how important it is to the company. Imparting a key task with minimal direction allows everyone to make a connection between shared performance and their own goals, giving the process a personal touch.

How Individual Elements Fit Into the Big Picture

Overall cohesion is another element to consider when rating teams, which should be reflected in individual scores. When a group is formed, personnel need to put aside their personal concerns and function as a unit. Cooperation can be measured by how well the workers can focus on the team’s goals as opposed to their own concerns.

When translating this element to individual scores, consider how much the team’s cohesion helped or hindered the group. If a team seemed to be full of individuals rather than functioning as a unit, but accomplished all the tasks assigned in the appropriate time frame, then both team and individuals succeeded. However, if autonomy got in the way of team function, then the personal ratings should be penalized for the group’s overall poor performance.

Finding the Balance Between Individuality and Group Mentality

Too much team cohesion can also be a bad thing. Sometimes teams devolve into “groupthink,” which might help a single function or goal, but when the group has to break up and function as individuals again, there can be trouble. Team members have to work on their own once the team is disbanded, and they’ll have to work with other employees. While too much cohesiveness shouldn’t lead to a team’s disbandment, keep an eye out for it just in case, and be ready to turn it back in the right direction.

Groupthink can also lead to a lack of individual responsibility. A failure of the team can be attributable to a failure of its members. Thus, groupthink implies that members lose their sense of individual responsibility in the process. Emphasize the connection between group ratings and personal assessment. That will help the workers take personal responsibility for their roles in the process.

Correctly Rating Team Performance vs. Individual Performance

Keep the group’s cohesion in mind when supplementing ratings with peer reviews. This process should be anonymous to minimize the chance of poor ratings damaging the team’s ability to function. This can be a concern with groups that are either too cohesive or very individualistic. With teams that are too cohesive, a negative comment can be perceived as an attack on everyone’s efforts; an individualistic team can see a problem with one member as a personal criticism. Consider the following when assessing review forms:

  • If you have taken the appropriate steps to link the team and individual concerns, correlating ratings should be simple. If the team succeeds, the individuals have also succeeded. Should the team fail, individual’s ratings should be lower – this is a reflection of the shared goals related to the team’s success.
  • Performance review forms should also account for team performance, particularly with the prevalence of collaboration in a modern business environment. Teamwork can even be made into a separate category that forms a component of the overall rating. That way, there are no surprises if a group project fails and the employees receive poorer ratings than they might have otherwise.
  • If there’s no direct category for teamwork on the review form, check requirements of the other categories. Some of these may be components of successful teamwork, and they’ll make the accounting process easier for you. When you perform the individual reviews, tell your employees where the scores come from. There should be no surprises on a performance evaluation.
  • In the unlikely event your performance review form has nothing related to teamwork but a lot of your projects require it, try to make excellent group performance an individual goal all involved. If teamwork is so relevant to the job, your employees will probably understand why you want to assess this crucial dimension.

Groups can amplify the effects of individual output, but negative personal traits may also spread into the team and affect the outcome. If this is starting to manifest in your workplace, simply take the time to remind everyone what they’ve been elected to accomplish.

Reevaluating Individual Roles in a Team

Whenever you decided to form a team, remind everyone that they’ve been appointed to complete a specific task. If you’re appropriately accounting for group and individual performance, no member of a failed effort will want to think that the team was unnecessary in the first place.

When you form teams, also remember that they’re comprised of individuals. Take into account previous interactions and potential character conflicts. A group comprised of incompatible personalities is set up for failure. You wouldn’t set an individual employee up to fail, so give your team every chance for success, as well. Sign up for our performance review creation tool to get started.