Each branch, store, department and worker in an organization is going to have different deliverables, goals, strengths and weaknesses. Why then do leaders insist on measuring successes and failures in the same manner across the board? The simple and honest answer is that it’s easy. Setting and tracking individual goals to keep them aligned with the entire organization’s objectives isn’t even an option without the right technology and leadership.

Even in a start-up, with a team of less than 10, keeping tabs on each detail of every worker’s progress (or lack of) doesn’t exactly fit into anyone’s schedule. As companies grow larger, the task of gathering individual performance analytics, organizing them and acting upon that data quickly becomes a monster of a task.  Additionally, it doesn’t only become harder to analyze and track a workforce; it becomes even more vital to driving success, staying competitive and keeping workers engaged in the company strategy.

In-Context Analytics

Let me set an example with a frustrated friend of mine in management. He manages a retail store in a rural part of the state. Despite the differing demographics and established buying patterns in this area, his company uses the same metrics to assess all stores. This means that raises, bonuses and promotions all depend on each store hitting their numbers. Without fail, each week his store is stronger than most in a certain metric and “failing” miserably in another.

I’m sure you can already see the problem here. This store’s key performance indicators (KPIs) aren’t the same (or at least they shouldn’t be) as any of the other stores. Despite this glaring metrics issue, each week these “short comings” are addressed, wasting the resources of management on analytics that are out of context.

Performance measurement specialist Stacey Barr defines some common issues with misaligned performance measures and KPIs.

          -   Measures are not being used because no one sees them as relevant

          -  There are clear links between your measures and your stategy

          -  You have no idea how to measure your goals, especially those intangible, qualitative goals


Why Are Organizations Still Doing it This Way?

That example was pretty macro, but the same logic follows on the individual, or micro levels of an organization. No one is going to have the same KPIs. Most organizations haven’t ventured into in-context analytics for a few reasons:

1)    This sounds like a daunting and impossible task.

2)    They believe that their disjointed, single department measures are cutting it.

3)    They don’t know how to implement change.

4)    They don’t know the technology exists to make the change happen.

Leo Gettler lends some good advice in a Smart Company piece, “The Art of Setting KPIs”:

“The mantra behind key performance indicators (KPIs) is imprinted on the brain of every executive in the world: ‘If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.’

The trouble is many companies don't know what to measure. The result: bad management, mixed messages, confusion and employees focusing on the wrong thing.”

It’s Possible

Defining and tracking in-context analytics is in fact possible, and doing so won’t ruin your life. This is what it looks like when the right talent alignment technology allows management to get targeted and relevant with their vision.

Goal Breakdown: Managers and executives can see how each goal is broken down into actionable components, who is responsible for each action and how the worker has prioritized the action.

Risks and Dependencies: Leaders can understand the projects and workers that key goals are depending on, identify risks and allocate resources in a far more efficient and effective manner.

Real-Time Progress Monitoring: Each moving part, on all levels of an organization will have their unique goals that work together. Leaders are given a bird’s eye view of this machine in order to organize and monitor progress in real-time.

Visual Tools: Leaders can see everything with big-data visualization. They can see how the organization is, and will connect with your strategy via visual tools.

A truly aligned workforce needs tools that will not only ensure that goals are met, but that the proper goals are being set. KPIs have to be defined and tracked on the individual level, and in real-time in order to most efficiently meet goals.

Do you need help defining your strategy, communicating your vision and seeing it through? We can help with all of that. Take a demo today and see how in-context analytics can make your vision a reality.

Photo Credit: e-magic via Compfight cc
Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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