Business Insights for Employee Evaluations or: Why No One Cares What You Think, KAREN!
When people think of Business Insights and, specifically, Microsoft Power BI, they typically think of financial or sales analysis. And why shouldn’t they? Money makes or breaks a business. That said, people drive the sales, reduce costs and monitor customer satisfaction. So how do you track people? Informally, there are vague, off-the-cuff comments (“Karen’s just not great at her job. Also, I think she may be keeping a cat in her file cabinet.”). Formally, there are lengthy peer- and self-evaluations. While great for self-reflection, these methods can ramp up anxiety as coworkers try to figure out who gave them a bad review (I’m on to you, Karen). Although these subjective reviews offer insight and perspective which cannot be reflected with hard metrics, anyone who has managed people will tell you, numbers add credibility. What Power BI can do is make those numbers meaningful, reportable and useful.
Personally, I used to keep lengthy spreadsheets filled with numbers from daily order-entry counts, quotation follow-up reports and order-expediting calls. These spreadsheets evolved into formulas and charts which were all created manually. Sharing and hiding sensitive data only made the process more time-consuming. I also watched others attempt to keep track of similar metrics only to have the relevancy fall apart when the supervisor became too busy to keep everything updated. As much fun as that was, using a product like Microsoft Power BI to pull the data, update the reports and dashboards and distribute accordingly is much more efficient and accurate.
Power BI is capable of pulling in data from a dizzying number of sources. Call logs can be pulled from a VOIP interface. Quotes generated and followed-up can be brought in from a CRM system or SQL database. Daily billing records can be imported and then tracked against errors reported by the Accounts Receivable team. All of the data needed is probably already recorded somewhere within the organization and, with Power BI, you only need to point to the data source and click or schedule a refresh.
Not only will Power BI allow you to pull data from a multitude of sources, it can also generate reports and dashboards to analyze important metrics. Instead of confronting an employee with complaints of billing errors, Power BI can bring the data together to show where they are struggling and drill-down to specific instances or ranges. With the inclusion of related metrics, this can be balanced against areas where a person is exceeding expectations. The ability to publish dashboards and manage visibility allows team members to see how they’re performing in real-time. In addition to tracking personal performance, Power BI reports can be used to create incentives. For example, weekly ratios can serve as the basis for sales or shipping performance contests. Set against pre-established goals, Power BI positions these numbers to tell a much bigger story.
Managing people and evaluating performance is a daunting and time-consuming process. An effective manager will use hard metrics and subjective reviews to help an employee meet and exceed their goals. Using a Business Insights tool like Microsoft Power BI can take cold and abstract metrics and generate a comprehensive and visual representation of an employee’s performance and, in some cases, cat-to-file cabinet ratio.