Tracking your team performance on a constant basis can be difficult. Team members roles and responsibilities vary from one person to another. To assign proper metrics to each person while still being fair to everyone across the board is no easy task.
Effective and actionable metrics can be difficult to define depending on your line of work, but it isn’t impossible to track team members’ performance. You'll be surprised to know that a whopping 53% of managers simply don’t track any performance indicators with their employees.
Let’s take a look at some of the ins and outs of team member performance-tracking as well as how you can benefit from doing so.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 101
In order to develop a successful team tracking system, we need to understand what KPIs stand for and what they do. In essence, key performance indicators are exactly what they say they are – they are the key indicators of someone’s performance.
If a person is doing well, their KPIs will be fulfilled for that day or week. What makes KPIs so effective in practice is that they can be actionable steps towards productivity, not just abstract ideas.
Let’s take a look at a good and bad example of KPIs so that you we can better understand the metrics for performance later on:
- Good: Email replies on a given period
- Bad: Number of hours spent in the office
As you can see, KPIs can only be concrete actions that represent some form of productivity specific to that job description. If a KPI is abstract, unclear and otherwise immeasurable, your team member’s performance won’t be tracked correctly.
They may be productive but you won’t be able to see it in any shape or form for further analysis and workflow refinement.
Now that we understand what KPIs are and how you can ideate your own, let’s take a look at why metrics are so important to a healthy work environment before jumping into the most effective metrics themselves.
Why are team member metrics important?
There is no denying that tracking and evaluating team members takes time and effort on your part. It’s staggering to consider that studies have shown a general lack of attention towards metrics from managers as 58% of them believe that performance measurement is simply a waste of time.
However, this can cause long-term problems that might not be fixable later on. Only 55% of employees believe that performance metrics and analysis actually contribute to their overall productivity. This is because managers often misunderstand the role of metrics in team performance.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons for team member performance tracking so that you can make the most of it:
It can help you detect detractors – some employees work more than others, while some work less. Knowing which is which is essential to your growth, performance and office morale.
It can give you a better understanding of who likes to do what – some employees like to do things differently than others. Knowing which people like which types of work will help you shift them around for better productivity.
It increases overall productivity and profitability – having a good idea of your staff’s productivity can help you raise attention in areas that are lacking. Some employees need extra supervision or attention to work to their fullest.
It creates a transparent working environment – if everyone knows how much everyone else works, your work environment will become healthy and cooperative. The goal of every manager should be the synergy between different team members and employees, which is what metrics can help you achieve.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see the benefits of implementing effective metrics for your teams’ performance. It’s important to consider that only 33% of US employees consider themselves involved in their work environment, which is a huge number to consider.
But what are the most efficient KPIs for indicating productivity if your staff’s job descriptions vary drastically from employee to employee? Luckily, there are some universally established metrics that apply to everyone on the payroll, and they are a great way to course-correct your work environment in the right direction.
The most effective performance metrics
We will break down the KPIs into different categories, or metrics. Considering that only 6% of companies think that performance metrics are important, we will explain each KPI individually.
Each point can be broken down further depending on your line of work. For example, people that work in marketing will have different performance indicators than programmers or engineers. Let’s dive into it:
Presence is always a tricky metric to talk about but it’s very important to do so. People will sometimes tell you that they will finish their work at home or go to their office to work by themselves. Teams live and die by the way they interact internally. People that cut others off and want to do things by themselves are seen as detractors.
Remember that your company or startup operates on a long-term basis – you need to keep your morale high for years to come. Doing so will require you to group people together and motivate them to work with each other, not just individually. Veronica Wright, CEO of Resumes Centre once said : “Teamwork is always more important than individual performance – it’s the only way a company can grow.”
This quote proves to be more than true in practice. Make sure to include presence metrics into your performance table before adding anything else. Break it down into smaller actions and track them on a daily basis.
Leadership can sometimes be difficult to interpret or define. However, it can easily be explained as “taking the initiative” over someone else. Make no mistake, leadership is different than presence – it involves boosting morale of others.
People that are able to motivate others, make them work harder and be more productive are natural-born leaders. Include metrics for leadership by defining what actions can be viewed as taking initiative. In some cases, this can be “buying lunch for others”, or “giving a motivational speech”. These actions are small and insignificant in comparison to actual work, but they are strong indicators of teamwork and group initiative.
3. Hourly commitment
No matter what niche your company operates in, hourly commitment of your employees plays a huge role in your overall productivity. Even if you work as a design agency, the amount of time people spend in your offices indicates how committed they are to the brand. If that’s the case, then hourly commitment should find its place on your list of performance metrics.
Keep in mind that the more hours your team members spend at work, the more results they will have for you to evaluate later on. You will have a much easier time drawing the line between productivity and procrastination, which will give you ample data for course-correction. Don’t be afraid to measure how many hours someone has spent at work and start looking at actionable statistics for your performance measurement problems.
4. Work quality
This is where things get interesting when it comes to KPIs. Determining the quality of your team member’s work requires additional analysis. This means that you yourself should be familiar with whatever your employees are working on.
For example, if an employee is in charge of filling invoices, make sure to take a few minutes and gauge whether or not the work has been done adequately.
This will give you a good counterpoint for hourly commitment as it will show you how much a person has been working up to that point. It’s also important to note that much of the work done by team members is subjective and individual.
If your members are designers or writers, there are only a few things you can do to gauge their quality of work. Go easy on your team members but be fair to everyone across the board. You are measuring performance for mutual benefit, not for your amusement.
5. Personal development
The satisfaction and development of your team members should be high on your list of priorities. Employees often leave companies due to negligence towards their personal goals and motivations. While your company does need to turn a profit, you also need to make sure that your employees are comfortable in doing so.
This is why personal development and experience is important for everyone onboard. Try to incentivize personal development through organized seminars, conferences, discussions and courses. People love developing new skills that they can add to their resumes and expand their professional experience.
These are small gestures of appreciation that can go a long way in making sure that your employees are loyal to the company. Measure the amount of time spent on personal development to gauge it against hourly commitment and work quality.
6. Daily coaching
Lastly, if your firm or startup is small enough, you can implement daily coaching into your metrics. Coaching represents one-on-one talks with your team members about their daily routine, performance, motivation and personal goals.
This is a great opportunity to know more about the people you work with and check back with them regularly. Tracking your coaching routine will give you a much better understanding of what drives your team members.
Steering them in the right direction will allow you to raise your overall performance and develop your employees into even better professionals.
Implementing performance metrics can be tricky if your team members are on the edge. It’s a good idea to host a group seminar where everyone involved will be introduced with the tracking system you came up with. Emphasize that the performance metrics are there for everyone’s benefit and not just so you can place your authority over everyone.
Tracking systems exist to help you achieve maximum productivity and identify bottlenecks – not to punish employees.
Studies have shown that 40% of employees want more recognition and attention at work from their managers. Create a positive environment around the system and make the most of the tools you have available.
Author : Silvia is an HR manager and freelance writer. She helps people write the perfect resume and land a desirable job. She is also an active guest contributor. Sylvia’s writing has been featured on Forbes, Next Avenue, TLNT and more.