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What gets measured gets done: Four tips to define your business KPIs

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(3) Ensure metrics are easily understandable

The metrics you choose need to be simple so employees can easily connect them back to the action they just took or are planning on taking. The clearer the connection the better.

Your measurements will also be more engaging and meaningful to you and your team, which is what matters the most. Leave your complicated metrics at home. They might be great for planning or benchmarking, but they’re hopeless for your day-to-day management.

Using data on a continuous basis will only be effective if the chosen data is easy and fast to understand. Your KPIs need to represent a snapshot of the situation you are trying to capture so teams can understand and react to the data quickly.

Think of your KPIs like the metrics on your car dashboard, you can glance at them and quickly understand the health of the situation and take action.

(4) Keep reviewing and evolving your measurement

Your KPIs will change as your company grows or adjusts its business model. Processes and priorities will change as you grow, perhaps even the whole company proposition will evolve.

While your KPIs need to be clearly thought through, there is no harm in modifying your metrics as you move on. You will learn by using, so if you don’t use your KPI data you will never learn how to make it better.

If you start using data and KPIs, you will quickly learn what works for you and also what doesn’t. 

Ultimately, avoid being a perfectionist when you get started otherwise you will delay measurement. Measuring something is better than measuring nothing or everything.

Paul Joyce is CEO of Geckoboard, the KPI dashboard application.

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