Business Metrics

Asking Employees for Metrics Suggestions

You suspect that your metrics aren't telling the whole story, but you're out of ideas. Why not ask your employees for metrics suggestions?

Employees generally aren't as enthusiastic about metrics as employers.

Asking Employees for Metrics Suggestions

For business owners and leaders, metrics create useful targets and performance measurements. For example, if sales are lagging, the owner can create a sales-per-employee metric, set an individual target of 500 units per week and expect to see an improvement in overall sales.

Workers, on the other hand, often view metrics as the quantification of unreasonable expectations. It's easy for owners and leaders to create a metric, but it falls on employees to either hit the metric or be penalized for underperformance.

A better approach is to involve employees in the creation of business metrics. If your current metrics aren't cutting it or if you're experiencing pushback from your workforce, it might be time to start asking employees for metrics suggestions.

  • Operational blind spots. When employees have the opportunity to suggest metrics, owners gain a more accurate perspective about the business, especially if the owner is removed from daily operations. In many cases, front line employees are better equipped to create metrics related to workflows and internal processes.
  • Out-of-the-box thinking. If you decide to let employees suggest metrics, one thing is for sure: You will be forced to consider metrics that never occurred to you. Some of them will be off-the-wall, but others will be out-of-the-box and valuable in providing actionable business intelligence.
  • Employee ownership. Metrics that have been generated by employees come with the added benefit of automatic employee buy-in. When employees bring a metric to your attention, it means that they are invested in its outcome and are more likely to take ownership of it on a go-forward basis.
  • Workforce priorities. Your priorities and your workers' priorities are probably very different. For example, while owners are concerned about revenue, workers are concerned about the processes required to generate the revenue. Employee-generated metrics reveal the priorities of your workforce. Even if you don't use the metrics, you'll gain a clearer picture of the things that are most important to your team.
  • Motivational benefits. Employee-generated metrics have the potential to become rallying points within the organization. If workers suggest a metric that is later adopted as a critical benchmark, employees can be motivated to pull out all the stops to improve the metric and meet benchmarks.

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