A Four Step Approach to Departmental Objectives and KPIs

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A well-performing employee is handed the role of Head of Department based on the merit of their technical and behavioral skills. Things start off smoothly, until one day a problem arises within the department that appears difficult to pinpoint. If the head of department fits all the criteria needed to fill this role, what could be missing then? More often than we believe, business owners/ senior management fail to fully grasp how their business operates. With the lack of any departmental metrics throughout the year, they are trapped with an idling business speculating where the issues lay. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a pertinent part of measuring the accomplishments and challenges of any business. These metrics allow managers to receive an overview of how an individual department or the organization as a whole is performing at any specific time. KPIs measure the objectives of the organization based on real quantifiable data over a definite period of time. Depending on what leaders want to accomplish in their departments and organization, key performance indicators can change based on projects, objectives, and specific timelines.   Performance Legendary management guru Peter Drucker is allegedly quoted to have said: “What gets measured, gets done.” Performance is based on results. To put it differently, there exists a clear correlation between the key desire to achieve goals and the way people perform the tasks that lead to the goals themselves.  Based on the above, ig has created a three-week course where participants can acquire the appropriate learning to set departmental goals that will lead them to success as well as to getting acquainted with the performance management system. In this course, participants are provided with the fundamental skills to assess their team’s performance regularly and draft their personal plan for continuous professional development.  Possessing knowledge on how to write KPIs is extremely valuable for any business professional. KPIs should be developed to contribute to achieving a specific strategic objective. If they’re not developed with a specific strategic objective in mind, they run the risk of stealing attention, time, and money from KPIs that actually help achieve these objectives. Your organization’s business model, industry, and even the department in which you operate will have an impact on the type of KPI you need.  Our four step approach to writing KPIs: 
  • Determine strategic objectives 

  • Define success 

  • Decide on measurement 

  • Write your SMART KPIs 

Determine Key Strategic Objectives 

Before writing KPIs, you’ll first need to determine which of your organization’s strategic objectives you’re trying to gauge. 

Define Success 

After identifying your strategic objectives, you’ll need to begin thinking about what the success of each objective looks like. By first defining what success looks like, deciding how you will measure the success of your objective becomes a lot easier. 

Decide on measurement 

Next, it’s imperative to decide how you will actually measure success. This can be done by identifying measurable elements over a period of time. Example: The number of new subscribers to your YouTube channel over a specified time period.

Write your KPIs 

Finally, KPIs should be actually written. They should follow the SMART format (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and relevant, and time-bound). KPIs must be understood by everyone within the organization, which means it is better not to use jargon (if possible), and to keep them to one sentence long.  HR Leaders who are familiar with the process of setting departmental KPIs often disregard the fact that not every team leader/ head of department might share the same knowledge. For that purpose, it is crucial to cascade this step-by-step guide to leaders across the organization in order to have a unified and quantifiable system for measuring performance. Having a system in place allows for transparency around team and individual performance and fosters constant improvement. As front-runners across the organization realize what drives performance, exchange data on what good departmental performance looks like and comprehend what attributes and KPIs matter, this enables employees to actually assess their own performance and to consider ways to improve. When designing future-proof organizations, leaders should empower teams to rise to any challenge. A KPI-based performance management system will not only ensure that top performers are well recognized and appreciated, but can also unlock any department’s or even organization’s full potential.
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