Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Everyone Should Have a Dashboard

Distinguishing high and low performance often requires a common set of metrics. Applying standard metrics across different positions can drive exceptionally high levels of performance across a company. This is often found in the world of sports. Examples include a baseball pitcher’s ERA (Earned Run Average), a football quarterback’s passer rating (QPR), or the average per game metrics applied to basketball players – Points per Game, Rebounds per Game, Assists per Game, Steals per Game and Blocks per Game. This standard framework binds the company, allowing managers to quickly size up individual players and identifying those who need coaching.

Similar to sports, businesses should develop a framework for recognizing performance across the workforce. Even without specific metrics for a job, organizational metrics can be deployed. Examples include:

·         Workforce Turnover – Measure how many people leave the company over time. You should also qualify this measurement by looking at who is leaving. There is a difference between key personnel leaving vs. underperformers.

·         Cost to Acquire – What does it cost to find, recruit, and place a person within your company?

·         Level of Productivity – How productive are people in terms of output, sales calls, hours billed out, etc.?

·         Sales per Person – What are revenues per employee? This metric is often easy to compare to the competition.

·         Employee Satisfaction – How do employees view management? What do they think of the company? You should evaluate satisfaction levels at various locations to help identify if one group or business unit has a potential management issue.

In order to drive performance, you should develop a company-wide framework that uses dashboards; from a higher organizational level down to the employee. Everyone should have a dashboard that aligns and binds the company together. As you perfect your metrics, you can link a portion of the employee’s pay to their dashboard performance. A common practice is to make 10% to 20% of a person’s pay variable, dependent upon their dashboard scores. If you fail to link pay to performance, the metrics may not drive performance.  

It is important to recognize that the best dashboard systems have several components for full functionality:

  • Employee Profile – You have to capture information about the employee such as job title, department, years of service, location, etc.
  • Performance Tracking – You will need to track performance goals and objectives. This will allow Supervisors to review progress over time.
  • Development Plan – Each employee will have a development plan to grow, learn and increase their respective skills.
  • Manager’s View – Employees will be tagged so that higher level managers can review all employees in the department, section or business unit. This layer should also include some advanced features for communicating corporate messages, soliciting feedback, and sharing of important data.

It’s also worth noting that senior managers prefer dashboards over spreadsheets. Dashboards provide a single consistent platform, bringing transparency across all parts of the company. If you couple this with great reporting and drill down analysis, then you have a foundation for managing your performance.

Communication is mostly visual and if you want to manage your business, you have to communicate performance visually. Displays can include colored lights, bar charts, graphs and gauges. This is the power of dashboards – easy and direct communication that everyone understands. This is why everyone should have a dashboard. 

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