Ways of Measuring Performance of Municipal Employees

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In the recent past, performance measurement has become an integral way of demonstrating accountability in the local government. Essentially, local government performance measurement and management systems are used to support budgeting, strategic planning, and other governance and managerial functions. Employee performance measurements can assist the local authorities in developing a continuous network of improvement. One of the critical ways of measuring municipal employees’ performance involves using an attitude or personality trait rating scale, whereby such traits as integrity and dependability are determined to confirm the employee’s effectiveness. Other ways include the use of a behavioral observation scale, objective approaches, and critical incidents. The methods focus on determining workers’ effectiveness and reliability as they perform their duties within different municipal departments. Hence, different ways, including the use of personality trait rating scale, behavioral observation scale, and objective approaches, can be incorporated when measuring municipal employees’ performance to determine their effectiveness in respective workplaces.

Attitude/Personality Trait Rating Scale

In this method, supervisors are tasked with rating such employees’ traits as tact, integrity, initiative, ingenuity, and dependability to reveal if the attributes are low, adequate, or excellent. The attitude or personality trait scale has been popular because it is convenient and can work across the firm. A manager can assign an employee to collect funds from markets and car parks; when funds match the receipts, the worker can be regarded as a truthful person. However, many organizations have criticized the technique because it focuses on people’s traits rather than what they do in their respective job positions. When a manager delves into a subordinate staff member’s personality, it could affect the employee’s career in the future, especially if the report confirms that an employee’s personality traits lead to low performance (Tindal, 2020). Another shortcoming is that the ratings on such forms are difficult to explain or defend since there may be varying meanings for such terms as reliability and initiative. Therefore, even though personality traits may influence one’s performance, the values do not provide accurate information about the efficiency and reliability of a municipal employee.

Critical Incidents

This method involves recording incidents from time to time in an employee’s workplace to illustrate the nature of their contribution. It can be documented and used in discussions with employees. The advantage of this technique is that it focuses on what employees do rather than their attributes. However, the method has the risk of overemphasizing unusual behavior. For instance, when an employee sexually abuses another worker, especially of a different race or ethnicity, the incident may be used to discriminate against the employee whenever the firm organizes workshops, training, or parties. The offender may be regarded as a racist, tribalistic, or rapist, and such descriptions may interfere with the employee’s performance. Thus, critical incidents should be used appropriately to limit challenges associated with the method that may impede employee performance.

The Objective Approach

The objective approach is among the most highly preferred method of employee performance measurement. In this method, an employee is evaluated based on objectives agreed upon between them and the managers. The approach gives the employees the pleasure of knowing how they will be assessed. One can determine the objectives and the criteria for measuring their achievements. For instance, if the worker should collect parking fees from 300 vehicles per day, the organization would regard them as excellent performers if they collect funds from more than 300 vehicles per day. However, this performance measurement method requires that an organization has clearly defined, measurable goals that can be used as the basis for the evaluation system (Tindal, 2020). Clear objectives guide workers to operate effectively for significant outcomes. Another setback of the method is that as much as goals and objectives are useful for providing feedback to groups, they do not help evaluate an individual’s performance since bottom-line measures are usually beyond an individual’s control. Using objectives as a basis for evaluation focuses on results and avoids subjectivity associated with narrative reporting and trait ratings.

Behavioral Observation Scale (BOS)

This method is highly rated for its effectiveness and reliability. It involves using behavioral observation scales (BOS), which require the person evaluating to recall the frequency with which key observations were demonstrated. The method is regarded as more reliable, valid, and fair because supervisors consider their behavior rather than their interpretation of traits such as commitment and loyalty (Tindal, 2020). The respective employees can use the evaluation results to set personal development goals that focus on behavior that need to be encouraged, stopped, or continued.


Generally, measuring municipal employees’ performance can help stimulate creativity, which will lead to high productivity. It can create fresh motivation and rewards that will boost the staff’s performance. The attitude or personality traits scale focuses on employees’ attitudes, including integrity and dependability. Critical incidents entail recording and keeping incidents or scenarios encountered by the employee to determine their performance. The behavior observation scale measures the worker’s behavior and frequency of behavioral activities to evaluate their performance. Therefore, different ways can be integrated to determine an employee’s success or failure by studying their actions, attitude, and frequency of work-related incidents.


Tindal, C. R. (2020). Unit 4: Management in the municipality. In S. E. Stedall & T. Haddad (Eds.), Municipal administration program. Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.

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