Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), also known as ‘key success indicators’, fundamentally help businesses and staff meet goals.
KPIs are not complicated to understand. At their core is the notion that every organization has a set of metrics it can utilize in order to judge the performance of either a part or the whole of the operation. Peter Drucker’s understated, yet critical, observation makes the point abundantly clear: “What gets measured gets improved.”
The measure may be something as simple as you, or your business unit, achieving a set goal or target. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, it could be achieving a set of business objectives over a period of time. This might be through something tangible such as meeting productivity targets, or in meeting a metric, such as reaching a certain stock market valuation.
What all of these have in common is effective measurement of goals and objectives, be it how well customer service is delivered, wider business performance metrics or longer-term strategic organizational goals. Deciding which KPIs are right relies on clearly defining critical success factors first, and only then pinpointing KPIs that actually matter.
Employee KPIs often feed into wider operational KPIs, so that staff are working towards a goal which will ultimately help the business meet its wider objectives. Let’s look at five of these, specific to personal performance:
Let’s be blunt – unhappy customers do not make for good long-term prospects for any business. Customer support and satisfaction matter whether a company serves the general public or a paying customer. In a sea of KPIs, this is one which almost every company will want to be using. By tracking customer satisfaction, employees and companies can quickly understand where there may be problems within the organization. For example, follow-up questionnaires that measure how customers feel they and their query were handled by a customer service representative — or how effectively they feel a salesperson handled their inquiry — are good ways of measuring the personal performance side of customer satisfaction.
If customer satisfaction comes as close as any KPI can to an imperative measure, employee satisfaction is a close second. Just as happy customers are integral to the longevity of a business, poor staff morale or engagement could spell disaster. It’s why KPIs need to be able to illuminate external as well as internal indicators affecting business. With employees, those internal KPIs can range from quantitative measures such as productivity to qualitative factors such as motivation or satisfaction.
There are a number of teamwork metrics which can form the basis of trackable indicators of performance over time. These may focus on attendance, helpfulness, efficiency, initiative or quality. Arguably, group effectiveness will have a significant impact on the business as teamwork impinges on both customer and employee satisfaction if groups are not operating effectively. These all factor into how a team member is performing overall. Take efficiency as an example. How effectively is a team member getting the task done? Tracking teamwork will prove a valuable KPI for recognizing problems within the workforce before they become a threat to wider company objectives.
EMPLOYEE TURNOVER RATE
Personal performance could become academic to the wider business strategy if the company’s best and brightest fail to remain as human capital. In a small organization losing a valuable staff member could have huge repercussions. Equally, a large business with a big number of departures will suffer in terms of internal morale, consistent customer relations and the overheads of additional hiring and training this necessitates. Understanding that staff churn is high then opens opportunities to apply personal KPIs which track employee metrics affecting staff retention such as remuneration, benefits, team cohesiveness, job satisfaction and more.
ACHIEVING GOALS (EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE)
Any well-managed company will give its employees a clear steer on what expectations it has for meeting personal goals or targets. It’s an inevitable corollary of being an employee that the company has hired you to achieve stuff in its employ. Thus any HR manager worth their salary should be tracking employee performance in meeting the objectives set when that person joined the team.
This illustrates just a few personal performance KPIs that form the basis of a much broader spectrum of indicators. Their application to different workplace scenarios will be guided by wider organizational objectives such as annual sales targets, costs of sales or ARPU KPIs. But, from a personal perspective, KPIs let employees monitor their performance and be able to both reflect and act upon their individual performance. This means employees are more likely to achieve personal targets and be more aware of how to do so in the future.