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What Is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)? Definition, Resources, and 1000+ Examples

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“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” — Zig Ziglar

When the cost of managing and measuring your performance is less than the tragic risk of hitting nothing, it pays to get your KPIs right.

KPIs, or key performance indicators, can prove that success is a result of not just one huge undertaking but a series of actions. These actions are taken by decision-makers that consistently rely on data rather than guesswork.

In this guide, you will learn the basics and benefits of KPIs and beyond. Explore the top articles, webinars, reports, and other materials produced by The KPI Institute, a leading global research institute specializing in business performance and KPI research for over 17 years.

Topics include:

  • What Is a Key Performance Indicator?
  • Why Companies Should Use KPIs
  • KPI Examples
  • Applying the KPI Best Practices
  • The KPI Measurement Framework

What Is a Key Performance Indicator?

The definition of a KPI, according to The KPI Institute, is “a measurable expression for the achievement of a desired level of results in an area relevant to the evaluated entity’s activity.”

13 Elements of a Good Key Performance Indicator

“If a decision support system is put in place, users need the right data granularity and the guidelines or context for making the right decisions. All of these reasons have an underlying story, and top-performing organizations are able to clearly communicate that story to their employees.”

[Watch] The Relationship Between Strategic Objectives, KPIs, and Initiatives

“As performance management & measurement is shaping up as a fundamental capability for organizations across the globe, there are still multiple challenges to be overcome.”

Why Companies Should Use KPIs

Top Six Reasons to Start Using Key Performance Indicators

“Nowadays, the challenge is not about accessing information, as most companies are managing large volumes of data. The challenge is to decide which data is the most important for decision making.”

[Listen] Performance Management and KPIs: Past, Present, & Future

“What have been some of the changes that the Performance Management field has experienced over time? What are some one-size-fits-all style KPIs that any company can employ?”

[Watch] Winning with KPIs: Optimizing PMS Implementation

Discover the role of KPIs in designing a rigorous Performance Management System (PMS) to ensure an optimized implementation across all organizational levels.

KPI Examples

Applying the KPI Best Practices

[Watch] Key Performance Indicators: The Core of Performance Management Systems

Compare KPIs and other performance evaluation criteria, identify the common KPI pitfalls, and discover how to use KPIs to create synergies between departments.

How Can We Ensure Our KPIs Are Aligned With the Strategy?

“In many cases, the key performance indicators (KPIs) monitored do not seem relevant as they are not connected to the strategy. To better understand how this problem can be addressed, we must first identify its possible causes.”

[Watch] Overcoming KPI Selection Challenges: Applying KPI Selection Techniques

“What are the most important guidelines to follow when selecting KPIs for strategic objectives? What are the most efficient KPI Selection techniques, most recommended KPI selection environments, and some Value Flow Analysis technique examples?”

The KPI Measurement Framework

How to Implement a KPI Measurement Framework

“A KPI implementation project plan provides a structure for the implementation of an organization’s performance management system. Once the project plan is set, all types of activities would have a clear deadline and designated responsibilities.”

Project Plan: Developing a Performance Management System Based on KPIs

“When formalizing and implementing a performance management system (PMS) based on key performance indicators (KPIs), there are multiple activities to be considered and many stakeholders to be engaged in the process. Therefore, you’ll need a project plan to make performance management an ongoing process within your organization.”

How Can You Improve the Data Gathering Process for Your KPIs?

“An important component of performance measurement is represented by the data collection capability. However, when applied in the organizational context, this process is neither easy nor lacking obstacles, as practitioners often discover.”

[Watch] KPI Selection Techniques

“Learn how KPI selection techniques can be implemented in practice and gain insights into the best practices for selecting KPIs.”

Advice on KPI Selection

“KPI selection is a process which seems simple, yet is inherently complex, due to the interdependencies involved. Here are 15 things to consider before embarking on this journey.”

How Can You Improve Key Performance Indicator Reporting?

“Just reporting performance data will not ensure the improvement of results. Improvement is only possible when decisions are made based on the insights provided by data.”

KPIs are not just about understanding and working with numbers. Using KPIs requires stakeholders to fulfill a vision and commit to ensuring success across all levels of their organization. If you would like to learn how to select the right KPIs for your organization, sign up for The KPI Institute’s Certified KPI Professional and Practitioner live online course today.

A Look Into the KPI Selection Workshop Notification

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Designing and implementing a Performance Management System (PMS) based on performance measurement tools such as key performance indicators (KPIs) is a thorough step-by-step process. It requires effective management of all the phases of the implementation process and proper allocation of responsibilities to all the stakeholders involved. With this, the KPI implementation project plan lays emphasis on conducting  KPI selection workshops.

Whether or not the PMS within your organization is comprehensive, KPIs can be measured across organizational layers: Corporate/Organizational, Divisional, Departmental, or Individual/Employee levels in accordance with the organizational context. For these performance indicators to be measured in standardized tools, such as a balanced scorecard, they need to be selected, and such selection should occur during dedicated meetings.

Such meetings require the attendance of specifically allocated stakeholders to provide constructive insights and foster a corporate community culture based on continuous improvement. As a line of practice, the participants of these workshops hold positions, such as department heads, strategists, performance analysts, members of the performance management office, and allocated members of the Board, all based on their availability. Note that other members could attend the workshops as per company practice. Attendance at these important meetings requires an invitation, though.

The invitation is a crucial, pre-workshop phase, as it sets the tone, pace, and mindset of the delegates who will join the event. Such invitation is generally in the form of an email with quite some content and attached materials. The email aims to provide contextualization and reasoning behind the request to certain members of the organization to attend the workshops. It is a request that comes from the Strategy Office or the Performance Management Office or whoever oversees the Performance Management practices in the organization, at least two to three weeks in advance of the date of the event.

What should be included in the KPI selection workshops invitation?

  • Brief introduction about the upcoming workshop;
  • Logistical information such as date, time, and location of the event;
  • Detailed KPI selection workshop agenda;
  • Reading materials and corporate documentation attached

What are the key documents to be attached to mentally prepare our participants and make this workshop a success?

  1. As a line of practice, it is recommended to share educational materials, prepared by the Performance Management Office, related to KPI selection, KPI Alignment practices, and Performance Measurement and Management tools. The delegates, whether or not they are practitioners in the field, are invited to go through the materials;
  2. Strategic and Performance Management tools linked to previous performance cycles, such as Corporate Strategy Plan, Organizational Scorecards, Dashboards, and Portfolio of Initiatives, must be included.
  3. In certain organizational contexts, a written note from top management and C-Suites may be added in order to highlight one factor: The involvement and support of top management in the design and implementation of the framework. This note could be very beneficial buy-in wise as well.

Setting the right tone and mindset in preparation for the workshop is very much advised. The delegates, especially after the workshops occur, will act as champions in disseminating knowledge and replicating the KPI best practices in their respective departments. Furthermore, it will support the ultimate purpose of securing the much-required buy-in from middle managers and employees across departments towards the PMS design.

If you would like to learn more about KPI selection practices and the follow-up activities to the KPI selection workshops, we kindly invite you to sign up for The KPI Institute’s Certified KPI Professional and Practitioner training course. It will lead you through all the phases of the KPI implementation project plan.

Wishing you the best of performance!

Measure the Employer Brand from the Inside: Factors and KPI Examples

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Image Source: Ben Duchac | Unsplash

Employer branding is a long-term strategy focused on managing the awareness and perceptions of employees, prospective employees, and stakeholders relating to corporate identity and reputation. The process of internalizing employer branding encourages individuals to accept external values and show authentic attitudes. 

Internalization occurs when an employee feels that they share the same or similar values as what their employer branding projects. However, for such internalization to occur, leaders must consistently talk about their employer brand, act as a role model, and therefore, implement their employer brand through “walk the talk.”

Employees feel greater value congruence when messages are communicated through employer brand values and when they experience regular interaction with employer brands. Senior management behavior, which reflects the values of employer brands, can fulfill a vital role in increasing employee engagement through employees who internalize employer branding values. 

In order to successfully increase employee engagement, employees need to internalize the company’s employer branding values as their own. Conformity between employee’s values and employer branding values is called employee brand fit. This concept is derived from the definition of person-organization fit.

Employees who consider their ethical values are in line with employer branding tend to feel a higher similarity and more engaged to the company. The compatibility of the employer brand and employees encourages the latter to develop an emotional attachment to the company. In addition, when employees believe that their values are consistent with the values of their companies’ employer branding, they feel more involved with the company’s vision and beliefs, and they are more likely to be emotionally connected to the company.

Measuring Employer Brand from the Inside

A study regarding internal employer branding reveals that the five main factors to consider when measuring employer branding from the inside are compensation & benefit, training & development, ethics & CSR, work-life balance and healthy work atmosphere.

Compensation and benefit

It reflects the attractive salary and competitive benefits offered by the organization to its employees. An effective compensation and benefits package helps a company to not only be competitive within the market but also to retain talent. You can use these KPIs to measure compensation and benefit:

  • # Salary competitiveness ratio
  • # Compensation market ratio
  • $ Healthcare expenses per current employee
  • % Target percentile
  • $ Internal equity
  • % Human capital  Return on investment (ROI)

Training and development

It reflects the skill development and growth opportunities provided to the employees for their current as well as future job positions. Here are the KPI examples for you to measure training and development:

  • $ Training cost per employee
  • % Employee received personalized training
  • # Training hours per full time equivalent (FTE)
  • $ Training investment per full time equivalent (FTE)
  • % Training programs for newly introduced innovations

Ethics and CSR

It reflects the ethical and social concerns of the organization towards both its employees, in particular, and society, in general. While ethics includes variables like the attitude of the organization towards the employees and legal procedures, CSR is the effect that corporations have on society with the aim of identifying and engaging new customers. You can use these KPIs to measure ethics and CSR:

  • # Company ethics violation
  • % Implementation level for guiding principles
  • # Confidential information leaks
  • % CSR programs implemented
  • # Environmental abnormalities and complaints received

Work-life balance (WLB)

WLB is characterized by the equilibrium between a person’s personal and official life. Organizations these days are becoming cognizant of WLB issues and have started incorporating WLB strategies into their employer brand. Here are the KPI examples for you to measure work-life balance:

  • # Employee Engagement Index (EEI)
  • % Absenteeism
  • # Employee Net Provider Score (eNPS)
  • % Employee turnover
  • # Happiness Index

Healthy work atmosphere

It reflects a friendly and less-stress work atmosphere and the team spirit amongst employees. The work atmosphere of every organization is unique and can be used as an employee value proposition of the company to distinguish it from competing firms. You can use these KPIs to measure healthy work atmosphere:

  • # Reported accidents and incidents
  • # Average overtime hours per employee
  • % Employee perception on management commitment survey
  • # Gender ratio
  • # Female to male salary ratio

Conclusion

To date, many employer brand strategies are delivered as a talent attraction tool. While lots of strategies provide useful insights about the employer brand’s external conceptualization and measurement, it devotes scant attention to the employer brand attributes that are considered to be important by the existing employees of an organization. The most important thing is, what’s implemented inside your organization can greatly influence your employer brand on the outside. If you’re interested in other KPI examples, sign up to our largest KPI database

How to implement a KPI measurement framework

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A well-functioning KPI measurement framework is more important then ever. In the fast-changing post-COVID-19 environment, organizations without a well-designed performance management system are not able to collect data-driven and real-time feedback, which is more important than ever because organizations need to make quick decisions as they respond to new challenges. 

Organizations with no formal KPI measurement framework in place might consider implementing KPIs, and this process starts with a KPI implementation project plan.      

The importance of a KPI implementation project plan

A KPI implementation project plan provides a structure for the implementation of an organization’s performance management system. Once the project plan is set, all types of activities would have a clear deadline and designated responsibilities.

Because a KPI implementation plan lays out all pertinent details, it promotes effective communication among the stakeholders of the project and reduces the impact of the project implementation gaps. Some of these gaps are the lack of buy-in from key stakeholders, unrealistic deliverables, and the inefficient assessment of organizational resources.

A good plan also serves as a compass for employees and other stakeholders in uncertain times because it guides stakeholders/employees towards reaching the strategic objectives of the organization. 

Project plan stages    

The most common elements of a KPI implementation project plan are key activities, deadline, responsibility, status, and comments. 

A KPI implementation project plan must be aligned to the organizational strategy and objectives.  Before the implementation starts, a meeting with the stakeholders of the project should be organized to discuss their expectations and make sure that everybody is on the same page. After the plan is developed by the project team in coordination with the project manager, the resource assessment of the project needs to be created. Then, another meeting with all employees is necessary in order to share the vision and benefits of such a project and delineate the first tasks to be finalized. 

The second phase is the actual implementation of the performance management system.  Start with proper training for the stakeholders to establish a common language and to avoid any misunderstanding. The appropriate KPIs should be selected in a KPI selection workshop. Then, they should be documented using a pre-defined, standardized template.  Moreover,  the data should be gathered and reported by the data custodians. The report should be presented with good visuals that are easy to interpret. This will help ensure a clear and effective decision-making process.  

During the post implementation assessment phase, a performance review meeting should be conducted to gather feedback from internal stakeholders and  analyze the situation and the progress of the result. It is also important to evaluate the possible corrective actions to be addressed in the performance management system. 

KPI implementation project plan example:

Conclusion

In order to arrive at the benefits of a well-functioning KPI management system, companies need to understand how to efficiently implement it and to ensure that all employees have a clear picture of the whole system.

Find out more about the performance management system implementation process through The KPI Institute’s Certified KPI Professional and Practitioner course. 

Top 25 Customer Service KPIs: Understanding Consumer Behavior

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One way to understand consumer behavior is to reflect on how nature works. Studies show that birds have been evolving for a long time now: They grow bigger beaks and longer legs. This phenomenon, described as shapeshifting, occurs because animals are adapting to climate change.  

How consumers behave is not that different. 

Consumers’ needs, concerns, habits, and preferences evolve. They respond to new technologies, new cultures, or crises like the pandemic. Developing a customer service strategy that addresses those changes is not always black and white. 

Change may come with different layers. For instance, in this pandemic, people have to distance themselves from crowds, but at the same time, they are more “connected” than ever before. 

PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey in June 2021 shows that in six months, from October 2020 to March 2021, over 50% of the global consumers they surveyed have become more digital. While that suggests less interaction, a meaningful connection somewhere in the transition emerged. Forty-three percent of the respondents have started exploring what their respective regions offer, appreciating local products, and valuing their community more. 

Beyond consumer behavior

Consumer behavior refers to how consumers evaluate, choose, buy, and use products and services. As consumers adapt to the changes in their environment, companies are compelled to rethink how they approach customers. However, as consumer behavior trends witness new changes, a one-size-fits-all strategy remains elusive. 

The reopening of retail stores in some places and other signs of a return to normalcy could rev up consumer confidence. Or not. Businesses must consider areas where unemployment is high, the ability of the government to minimize the risk of case surges, and how consumers now view and manage their finances. 

For the consumers and the businesses, the trends are not just about behavior and how it leads to new systems and strategies. What lies behind these changes is the consumer’s attitude.

Consumer attitudes refer to consumers’ beliefs about, feelings about, and behavioral intentions toward some object. This object could be a product, service, brand, or any area of consumption. Attitude is what drives a consumer’s purchasing decision.

The PwC survey revealed that 50% of the global consumers they asked prefer eco-friendly products, while at-home consumers have become “more environmentally sensitive” than those working away from home. Understanding consumers’ emerging principles, such as sustainability and localism, can affect how customer service agents represent their companies. 

The effects of empathy

From financial difficulties to social awareness, the reasons for how consumers behave, think, and feel today call for more flexible, empathetic customer service.

PV Kannan, CEO and co-founder of customer experience software and services company  [24]7.ai, wrote that how the pandemic changed customer service reflects the challenges and difficulties consumers are facing. Some customers ask for extensions on payments, while some request faster delivery of their packages. 

Kannan calls on companies to show more empathy, not just because it is a good thing. “If there’s one big lesson we’ve learned, it’s that caring for your customers is good for business,” he wrote. 

He made a good point. An empathetic customer service strategy can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue. A study published in The Association for Consumer Research affirmed the link between customer satisfaction and a customer’s willingness to pay. Customer experience data suggest that organizations who invest heavily in customer service systems with a human approach experience business growth.  

Monitoring customer service capabilities

How will a company know that empathy is working for the business and its customers at the same time? 

Empathy can’t be directly quantified. But using key performance indicators (KPI) can help organizations assess and monitor their customer service capabilities.

The KPI Institute has launched The Top 25 Customer Service KPIs – 2020 Extended Edition, which presents the most viewed customer service KPIs based on smartKPIs.com, a database of over 21,000 documented KPIs.

The report can guide organizations as they go through the process of determining the KPIs for their customer service departments. They would be able to further understand how KPIs can improve their performance measurement practices.

The Top 25 Customer Service KPIs reflect three categories.

Complaints handling: It offers an overview of the complaint management system and the ability to reduce customer dissatisfaction.

  • % Customer complaints due to poor service or product quality
  • # Complaints received
  • % Complaints resolved
  • # Frequency of customer complaints
  • % Customer satisfaction with complaints handling
  • # Time to resolve complaints
  • % Complaints responded to within a standard time

Customer interaction: It measures the ability to respond and solve clients’ requests.

    • % Call completion rate
    • % First contact resolution rate
    • % Not in good order account applications (NIGO)
    • % Interactive voice response (IVR) completion rate
    • # Longest delay in queue
    • # After call work time
    • % Blockage
    • # Time from inquiry to response
    • % Resolution of queries the same day

    Service responsiveness: It indicates how fast and efficiently a company responds to its customers.

      • # Speed of answer (SA)
      • # Call handling time
      • % Customer satisfaction with service levels
      • % Calls answered within service level time
      • # Longest call hold
      • % Customer calls answered in the first minute
      • # Pick-to-ship cycle time for customer orders
      • % Visit customers served within 3 minutes
      • % Call abandon rate

      Time, context, and communication skills matter in the customer service process. While companies do not have complete control over the disruptions on consumer preferences and mindset, they can set up strategies, improve their performance, and streamline their processes to influence consumer journeys. 

      And it starts with knowing what works and what doesn’t. 

      To view the complete profiles of the 25 most popular customer service KPIs and exclusive in practice recommendations, download the Top 25 Customer Service KPIs – 2020 Extended Edition here

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