Manage What You Measure: Improve Workforce Productivity with Transparent Performance Metrics
One of the most efficient and impactful ways companies can inspire better team productivity is by granting employees access to data and information previously guarded by management - namely, real-time performance metrics.
We all have an image in our minds of what we don’t want our company’s contact center to look like: a team of dead-eyed customer support members in cold, impersonal cubicles, half-heartedly working towards impersonal goals dictated by the higher-ups.
It’s not a pretty picture, and most companies have since evolved to a much more positive and productive model, striving towards increased agent autonomy through better training and engagement tools, and encouragement to stay self-motivated to perform. But, much like taking a cross-country road trip without a GPS, encouraging a self-driven, personalized approach without giving employees the resources they need to navigate the journey can lead to some frustrating outcomes.
This is why one of the most efficient and impactful ways companies can inspire better team productivity is by granting employees access to data and information previously guarded by management – namely, their own personal real-time performance metrics. Here is why better performance transparency leads to more successful teams who drive higher revenue and results.
#1 – It develops individual accountability
Transparent performance metrics – including individualized KPIs – benefit the individual and your team at large. From a collective perspective, performance transparency reduces the risk of bystanders – those who operate under the assumption that “others on the team will hit our targets for us, even if I don’t.” Being accountable to your growth, your performance, and your goals holds every individual accountable to their impact.
The ability to track individual performance metrics against specific goals immediately makes the work more personal. One only has to look to the cultural success of wearable fitness technology to see how regular tracking and goal-setting (10,000 steps a day!) motivate performance because seeing success in small milestones gives us the boost we need to continue pushing towards the larger objective. When Microsoft enabled employees to see and track performance towards goals for thousands of globally distributed in-house and outsourced contact center service employees, they reported a 10-12% increase in agent productivity. In their case, this translated to agents averaging another two service calls per shift, and thousands of man-hours saved! For another company, Comdata Group, giving telesales agents access to a personal dashboard with their real-time performance metrics and goals, combined with mechanisms to drive their focus and motivation around these goals, translated to 12% more sales per agent per hour and 18% higher average revenue per successful sale.
#2 – It reveals areas for improvement quickly
Imagine the frustration of an employee who receives negative feedback on his periodical review or during a one-on-one one with his manager about something he could have been addressing months ago if only the issue had been brought to his attention. Now, time that could be spent on setting new goals will go towards unlearning bad habits. It’s a no-win situation for him and the company. This is yet another reason why transparent performance metrics are so critical – they allow for small, more immediate course corrections and pivots instead of trying to play catch up after longer periods of time.
These pivots usually come in the form of more specific, immediate, and customized training, whether that be manager-led (coaching) or employee-requested. Since an employee is told in real-time what they need to work on, they can then be working on this together with other employees struggling in the same area. Bringing employees into the “community” with teammates who struggle with a similar KPI allows them to work together on a shared area of improvement. This creates alignment on goals, and team members are able to work together to show their managers the progress they have made.
Better, more frequent learning improves your team faster and more efficiently than the traditional review models. By doing this, managers can see exactly what training each employee needs in order to improve their personal results. In fact, Webhelp, one of Europe’s largest outsourced customer service providers, used these types of smarter learning tactics and saw agents reaching proficiency, and able to serve clients 50% faster, and with 20% lower resolution times.
#3 – It improves job satisfaction, which increases employees’ effectiveness
All of these benefits of performance metrics tracking – individualized goal setting, performance transparency, and customized coaching opportunities – create a culture of accountability that has proven time and again to boost productivity and drive results. These benefits create higher job enjoyment, like at one leading regional bank, where better goal transparency and training saw 8% attrition reduction; or other companies who reported 6 to 17% reductions in short-term employee absenteeism. And, of course, happier employees lead to happier end-customers.
Individual performance tracking used to be a pie-in-the-sky, resource-heavy ambition, but today, with a lot of the data collection and measurement already being done, it’s just a matter of aggregating and presenting the information to employees in an easy to follow and compelling way. New advancements in A.I. are also making this process even more effective, by automating processes like flagging outliers and performance risks or surfacing relevant training to employees when they need it.
Taking this approach nowadays is not only possible – but essential for teams to remain competitive in retaining great talent and servicing end-customers. With a more robust dataset in hand, companies have to become more transparent with these metrics to evolve their teams from a “check-list” mindset to a “challenge accepted” mindset – the key to an engaged and more profitable workforce.
For more on this and other performance management topics, get Centrical’s ebook “Managing Employee Performance in Real-Time” here.