Build your performance indicators

Groupe qui regarde un graphique d'indicateurs

Any structure or organization must measure its performance. Beyond the fact that different indicators are used to measure the state of health of the company, all organizations must report their performance.

Whether you work in a non-profit association, a cooperative, a small or a large corporation, your organization is accountable for the board of directors, clients, members or shareholders.

Setting a goal often provokes a deep and sudden ownership

Walter Disney (1901-1966), American movie producer

The scope of indicators extends to the entire company. It is then declined by departments, services and even individuals. This is where the indicators unfold their power: they come to put us in action!

Clarify your performance model

It is important that indicators are aligned with the company’s performance model. A classic mistake is to select existing indicators from a ready-made list. First, it is necessary to ask the following question: What are the factors that impact our results?

From the answers, it becomes easy to build sets of key indicators, being careful not to multiply their number. A large amount of indicators is a source of inefficiency. On the one hand, instead of acting, your teams will spend time updating them. On the other hand, you will increase the complexity of your organization. How will you prioritize your actions? On which indicators will you have to act to have the best results?

In another article, I detail the example of a Client Contact Center. The key indicator is a combination of call volume and processing time. Secondary indicators will include satisfaction, first contact resolution and employee engagement.

It is better to have a few indicators that are specific and adapted to your organization, than a dashboard that is well filled but ultimately unusable.

Define the proper performance indicators

Once your performance model has been clarified, you will be able to specify for each indicator a certain amount of information. The 5W’s is the perfect tool for doing this.

  • What is its purpose ?
  • What does it measure?
  • Who updates it?
  • Who has the information to update it?
  • How do I update it?
  • What will be the format (filled by hand, printed, computerized)?
  • Who is interested to see him?
  • Where will I put it (network directory, office entrance, …)?
  • When will I update it (day, week, month, year)?
  • When do I start it?
  • Why did I choose this indicator?

All of these questions will clarify the role and use of the indicator. An indicator that you would like to update every week, on sales for example, but that takes you 3 hours of excel data compilation to get the result is not effective. Either the information chosen for the indicator is not the right one, or there is a big space for improvement in your processes!

Some tips to build efficient indicators

An indicator is used to measure your performance, not to deteriorate it. The number must be reduced and the update effective. The indicators must be clear. An indicator that requires 10 minutes of explanation is not a good indicator. At a glance, one should have how the business is going.

When we have taken the wrong road, the faster we walk, the more we go astray.

Denis Diderot (1773 – 1784), French writer and philosopher

Your indicators should help you know that you are on the wrong road. The sooner you detect it, the better you will be. In another article, I explain the difference between predictive and reactive indicators.

Make the indicator accountable

Ideally, indicators should be filled on the field by the teams that produce them. A supervisor or team leader will then be able to record the data to track trends and plot history, set goals.

However, who is responsible for the action plans? If the indicator deteriorates, who reacts? Who should put the action plan in place and follow it?

In a directive model, it will undoubtedly be a manager. The responsiveness will then be low, but the actions will perhaps be more concerted with other sectors. In a participatory model, the person who produces and completes the indicator, takes action herself to correct it as needed. She informs her manager and asks for support if needed.

Keep it simple

To be successful, there’s no need for digital tablets and dynamic graphics. Sheets with pre-printed graphics are an easy way. Each can add a point or a cross according to what it has had as a result.

However, technology, when used, must facilitate data collection. For example, digital tools are very well suited when teams are at different sites or when operators already use computers. Teams of computer developers are, conversely, continuously in their machines. The question then arises: digital or physical indicator? If the team is located in the same location, requiring members to stand up to document them can improve performance, effectively reducing the long postures sitting behind the computer.

Dare the color, but not too much

Colors bring joy in offices. However, try to resist your artistic impulses. The classic green / yellow / red is a standard. You should respect it for the good of all.

Some organizations adopt a binary code: green and red. Indeed, often nobody dares to put red, symbol of problem. So we end up with a pseudo binary code: red / yellow / green, but with only the yellow and green used.

Take the time to clearly define what comes under each color and your indicators will be more homogeneous.

Exemple d’indicateur de production

An effective indicator provides, in an eyeblink, useful information to assess how is the team performing.

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