How to Set Employee Goals with Your Data

Targets hit in the center by arrows

Seeing data is great, but how do you create clear goals for your team that will yield results, especially when your data is complex?

Metrics are important. Organizations need to have insight into how they are performing relative to expectations. That’s the reason behind business intelligence, and when used right, BI can do this job pretty effectively.

Front-line employees need this kind of insight too. Especially for IT staff, setting personal goals is an important, well, goal. In fact, this is a heyday for personal analytics, since there is no end to the ways you can track yourself. This post on Hacker Noon is a good example of a method to improve yourself by setting goals and tracking the data. It works for two simple reasons:

  • Seeing the analytics is a daily reminder of tasks that need to be done, so they don’t drop off your radar, but ultimately become a habit.
  • Seeing ratings helps compel you to improve them. Says blogger Duncan Gans, “I don’t receive a congratulations, I don’t receive a pat on the back. No one knows, except for me. But, this arbitrary data strongly influences my actions.”

This particular blog post was about personal goals, but there’s no reason why employee activities can’t be tracked. Not on an efficiency-expert level, like Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics attempt, but for personal KPIs. If your application provides users with self-service capabilities (like ad hoc reporting and analytics), you might consider adding functionality to help end users focus on and track their personal priorities. Not all users will find them useful, but high performing employees certainly will.

What kind of KPIs do they need to see? Instead of tracking things like net revenue, ROI, gross profits and sales, these users need a different set of metrics – ones that vary by their different roles.

Healthcare Metrics

  • Average patient wait time
  • Average processing time insurance claims
  • Patient satisfaction score
  • Number of flu shots (or other public health objective) given daily

Customer Service Metrics

  • Average number of calls per day
  • Average time on call
  • Goal timeframe for answering calls
  • Percentage of calls answered within timeframe

Common Sales Metrics

  • Number of sales calls
  • Number of qualified leads
  • Win/loss ration
  • Average deal time to close

IT Metrics

  • Percentage of tickets assigned/closed
  • Percentage of system uptime
  • Number of server alerts and messages
  • Number of server error conditions

Some of these may not be personal goals so much as clear informational metrics employees need to monitor during the day. That includes items like system uptime for IT staff. But other KPIs are there to help gauge improvement over time. When employees have to do a self-assessment (or apply for a new position) these metrics can be hugely helpful.

It’s important to note is that these are very clear KPIs, to make it easy for users to improve their personal performance without being overwhelmed by the data. There should be only a few – too many will dilute the effort of achieving them. And these should reflect important organizational goals. And of course, these metrics should not be used to track mistakes or punish employees. The aim is to help employees focus on moving the needle on some critical elements of their jobs.

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