It is difficult to find a study that disputes the fact that organizations with clear goals achieve better results. While most organizations today have concrete KPIs, it is still far too common that only a select group of people, such as the management, have insight into these.
How are employees supposed to perform better if they are unaware of what their department is being measured on, or how they are tracking in relation to set goals? Sharing KPIs internally to keep everyone updated on the progress is a vital, but often forgotten, step when setting goals and deciding on KPIs.
In this article we will take a closer look at just how you can achieve this, and what you should consider when sharing KPIs with your team.
Business intelligence dashboard
All too often, KPIs are written in a word document or a PowerPoint-presentation. This can result in everyone in the organization losing track of the KPIs and that they are not reviewed until a year later. With all the data available to us today, there is no excuse not to keep track of your KPIs and if you are on track to achieving your goals. This insight will provide you with the insight you need to make informed decisions about your business.
To track your KPIs, you should ideally be investing in a business intelligence tool to which you can connect several different sources that automatically supply you with the data that you need. There are several different business intelligence tools on the market, but the most well-known is probably Microsoft Power BI. Once you have your data sources integrated into your business intelligence tool, you can set up a dashboard that gives you full insight into how the company is performing in relation to your goals.
Now, many organizations have already started using a business intelligence tool and understand that this technology can be quite pricey. For a handful of users, that might not be an issue, but having every employee in your company have access to your business intelligence tool is problematic to say the least.
Even if we ignore the cost aspect, most of your employees probably won’t know how to use the tool and thus there will be no benefits to having everyone have access to the dashboard. On top of that you have the security aspect. You probably have information that you do not want your competitors to get their hands on in your business intelligence tool, and the more people that have access to the data, the bigger of a security risk it becomes.
Your answer to the challenge above may be to simply export your dashboard on a weekly or monthly basis to a PDF and send this to all employees via email. Email is great, but it is not very safe. It is prone to malware and bots and issues such as phishing and spoofing have become commonplace.
But if we were to ignore the technical security aspects of email, there are still some major red flags with communicating such sensitive information en masse via email. Human errors do happen – frequently. I would be willing to wager that you have mistakenly sent an email to the wrong person at some point during your career. Sending sensitive PDFs via email that are easy to forward, whether it be on purpose or not, is thus not the best of ideas.
1. Actually sharing KPIs
Let us get the first and most important best practice out of the way first. The first point on this list is to actually share KPIs internally. As William Craig noted in an article in Forbes, “in more than one study, employees indicated that company transparency was the number-one factor in determining their workplace happiness.” When you also factor in the point made at the beginning of this article, that the organization has a better chance of succeeding if everyone knows what the goals are and where they are in relation to these, sharing KPIs internally becomes a no-brainer.
2. Keeping information secure
The second point on this list is to keep information secure. Microsoft have set out to solve the security issue by allowing a Microsoft Power BI administrator to securely share dashboards with up to 500 users and made it easy to retract this access on a user- or group-level. You are also able to share reports and dashboards directly from Microsoft Power BI to Microsoft Teams or through Microsoft SharePoint.
Most business intelligence tools have some sort of solution for sharing reports, but make sure that the solution fits with your cyber security infrastructure and that you do not end up with unnecessary vulnerabilities.
3. Make dashboards easy to understand
It is unlikely that all employees in your organization are IT- or financial experts. Keep this in mind when structuring KPI dashboards. The dashboard needs to be intuitive and easy to understand and only contain the most vital information to avoid information clutter. You may want to consult employees who are not used to working with data and see how they respond to your setups.
It might help to bring in some colors in the graphs just to make the numbers come alive and make it clear what the graphs are illustrating.
4. Do not forget to stay up to date
This is a common trap to fall into. Even if you are actively reminding employees to stay up to date with their personal or their department’s KPIs, in the daily hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget to stay continuously updated with the progress. This is especially true considering that a majority of a company’s performance information is communicated verbally, via a spreadsheet or in a PowerPoint presentation.
One way of avoiding the risk of your KPIs becoming dust bunnies is to share your dashboards internally using digital signage. You can easily share different dashboards in different departments or offices so that these are always visible. This helps keep employees focused on the things that matter and that bring the most value to the organization. You can read more about how to share Microsoft Power BI reports using digital signage here.
Sharing KPIs internally can be a highly effective way to gather your team around a shared set of goals, and it is important that everyone understands how they can contribute to the success of the organization. By using a powerful business intelligence tool that fits into your cyber security infrastructure and sharing the live KPI dashboards using digital signage, you can ensure that your team is always up to date.
It is worth noting that this is only effective if you have set the right KPIs in the first place. Remember to use KPIs to motivate and empower, not to intimidate. If you track the number of sales meetings booked for example, rather than year-on-year growth, you might find yourself with a sales team booking irrelevant meetings just to reach their target and most likely a high employee turnover rate as well.
With good KPIs that are timely, realistic, specific, achievable, and measurable and the proper tools to share the organizations progress on these KPIs, you are setting your organization up for success.