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No matter where you fall on the pecking order, it’s never too far into a Monday before your inbox and your desk are filled to the brim. You’ve barely finished your first coffee and you’re already getting “full” notifications on Exchange. And while that one super-employee we all know is quick to clean up their desktop, the rest of us are left getting overwhelmed by the clutter. And inevitably, later that afternoon, you’re playing catch-up with a task that you missed coming across your desk a few hours prior. There’s a reason that quantity and quality are often seen as counterweights: you generally don’t find both increasing in tandem. And when your to-do list is constantly getting longer, and it looks like you’re going to break the “unread” counter, your ability to prioritize and execute is going to be decimated. So then why do we keep flooding our teams with senseless weekly reports? Do we really trust that everyone’s going to see the recurring notes from their manager as the most important thing week in and week out? When it comes to prioritizing, traditional reporting is setting our teams up for failure. Enter KPI dashboards. If you haven’t considered the switch to a new standard of reporting for your team, consider the effect that switching it up might really have for your employees:
You may have a sales staff that’s pretty handy when it comes to their own commission calculators, but at the end of the day, most people aren’t data scientists. And expecting someone to really examine another paper on their desk and feel motivated may prove futile. Numbers on a page are not often very compelling. But consider for a moment what it might look like to have your, and your team’s, key performance indicators updating in a dashboard in real time. KPI data is constantly changing, so why limit the updates to once a week? Immediately, your team will be able to see the value of their mid-week work, and how it’s translating to the larger goals of your team.
But if you’re feeling like your team isn’t engaged, there’s probably more to it than an aggressive distaste for spreadsheets. And what’s more, it’s not just that they’re lazy or underperformers. The UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business’s “Executive Development Blog” explains that, by and large, your disengaged employees are that way for a reason: “Disengaged workers may have been actively engaged workers at one time. Somewhere along the way, though, they became disengaged because of a lack of career growth or promotion, a perception of salary inequity, job dislike, or distrust in their direct manager and senior management.” In other words, disengaged employees often don’t see their own value—or they don’t think you see it yourself. That isn’t always the result of a manager actively sending that message. When you start to fall into the motions week in and week out, you start to miss the opportunities to affirm and motivate your team.
Combatting that apathy doesn’t require a therapy session, or even a big team outing: it’s simply a matter of reframing your team’s performance. And that’s exactly what a live KPI dashboard can do. When you’ve got hard numbers on where your team needs to get, and how far along they are, it can be a huge motivator. Suddenly your employees are seeing their performances (or lack thereof), and can immediately feel like they’re being recognized for hitting their numbers. A KPI dashboard gives your employees the opportunity to be seen, which helps them to be valued, which helps them to be their best. It’s as simple as that.
You can spend a lot of time dreaming up engagement plans, rehearsing motivational speeches, and emailing out dry reports, but the truth is that they don’t always pack the punch you want. Data visualization, here in the form of a KPI Dashboard, is an easy and effective way to get your employees engaged with their work. And when your team is truly engaged, everyone wins.