25 Feb Become a Better Boss by Sharing Metrics with Employees
The old style of management had the boss be the boss, while everyone else kept their head down and did their job. Think about the pointy-haired boss in the Dilbert cartoons. Set up a bunch of spreadsheets, send a bunch of emails, and keep all your company KPIs to yourself. According to a report by Robert Half Management Resources, 76% of private companies don’t share any information about how the company is performing, including, financial data and the like.
Imagine your employees are players in a sport. You’re the coach, and you know exactly what the score is, how many defensive wins they’ve got, and how many errors have been made. But without a scoreboard to show the players this information, they won’t know how well they are playing.
Your business works the same way. According to a Gallup poll, 70% of employees don’t feel engaged at work. They don’t know what’s going on because they don’t have a scoreboard. If you let your people know how the company is doing and how that relates to overall goals, you can get buy-in the company mission and watch how your employees take it upon themselves to improve the company.
So sharing metrics is caring. But how do you go about that?
Find the KPIs That Show the Score
Good KPIs in this case means finding those indicators that have the greatest impact on the business. You’ve got your overall score – your primary KPI – and then you’ve got your other statistics that affect it – assists, takeaways, penalty shots, etc. Each team needs to know how they affect the overall score with KPIs that indicate their contributions.
To determine relevant KPIs
Define the overall goals of the company – your primary KPI:
How each team can affect that goal.
Break down the primary KPI to team KPIs that affect it.
Your overall KPI will probably be something like total revenue or revenue growth month over month. For a sales team, that might be lead conversion %, new user growth, or total sales volume. For support or maintenance departments, it might be total call/complaint volume, customer satisfaction, or time to resolve issues.
Each department affects that primary KPI differently.
The next step is making sure each team member knows how their performance affects these values. Teach each team member how they can move the numbers into positive territory. Good metrics are actionable, and effective employees know the actions that impact the KPIs their team is responsible for.
Finally, use the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid. A massive Excel file sitting on a shared server isn’t going to help anyone. Give your people the simple values that aggregate the data into an analysed snapshot of the current health of the business.
Building a Simple Scoreboard
So once you figure out the primary KPI – the score – as well as the individual team KPIs, you need to display them to your team, preferably in real time. For that, build a simple dashboard and put in as visible a place as possible. Get a big TV and hang it on the wall near the team.
Don’t overwhelm your teams with lots of data. Pick the KPIs that show the most important information. Don’t overwhelm your people with too many dashboards. A few key metrics go a long way.
Finally, you’ll need to select the right business intelligence dashboard tool that will present your information clearly with the least amount of work. What good is a dashboard if you spend extra time just trying to update it. You’ve already got the important data entered and stored sledge somewhere; now your dashboard should be able to pull that data and update your team in real time. With zero delay between data and display, your team can adapt to the current state of the business and work more efficiently.
Make sure you build the dashboard around how our brains work. Western countries read left to right, top to bottom. Your most important KPI should live in the top-right corner so employees see it first. Not matter whether you want to minimize or maximize a value, when that value is above what’s expected, turn it green. When things are going poorly, turn it red. Avoid too many colors, otherwise you’ll confuse people with your rainbow effect.
Keep your team’s heads in the game by giving them the information about how their work affects the bigger picture. You’ll tie their individual performance to the larger picture, encourage collaboration, and motivate them to work to improve your shared goals. When they share your goals, managing the business and pushing the ball forward becomes everyone’s job. And everyone shares in that success.