What to measure?

A sample of US managers’ views was recently published on performance measures they use

In essence, they said:

  • ‘App overload’ constantly disrupts work flows – they’re meant to streamline productivity and communications but do the opposite – most employees want a single platform for phone calls, chat, email and team messaging – so get rid of legacy solutions
  • Measure the average quantity of work on a given day or week – 5 hi-quality projects are usually better than 20 hastily written ones – so emphasise the value of quality over quantity to get a better idea of pace – then help them improve their efficiency to produce more without sacrificing quality
  • Identify where workflow bottlenecks are, plus track down causes of those slowdowns – collect KPIs like the number of client issues resolved or the amount of time employees spend training to use a particular piece of software
  • Have teams set meaningful goals and then plan meaningful actions each week that will take them closer towards those goals – productivity can then be measured by comparing our weekly accomplishments against our planned actions for the week e.g. quantity of phone calls, press releases, blog posts, bugs fixed, products delivered, candidates interviewed
  • Establish a baseline for the employee – then set clear and concise goals with the date and the exact expected result
  • Have employees log time for tasks they’ve completed, mark them as billable or not, and assign them to certain projects – then you see where time is being spent and whether it is being dedicated to customers or internal work (if they’re honest!)
  • Develop KPIs e.g. number of five star ratings or new client files opened for a given week, month or quarter
  • Set a reachable goal (with moderate effort), a reach goal (very high performance) and a stretch goal (extremely high performance) – they’re a great way to motivate team members to go beyond minimum expectations
  • Measure the team by:
    • Time spent on various tasks and completion rate
    • Quality of tasks performed
    • Attendance on training programs
    • Helping others achieve their goals
  • Break projects down into concise granular tasks – assign a deadline and accountable individual to each

Quick comments:

  • Customers are barely mentioned e.g. satisfaction levels, end-to-end waiting times from their standpoint, time spent dealing with demand that should never have occurred in the first place and brings in no extra revenue, only extra costs
  • The measures are all inward looking, to their internal team, resources and processes, when they should be outward focussed on their customers’ needs and wants
  • There’s no reference to measures of waste of resources or time are mentioned 
  • It’s always labour productivity – and never material, capital or knowledge productivity

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