WABT CASE STUDY - A KPI WAKE UP CALL
Clarity Creates Connections
Let’s call this a medium-sized but growing business with a specific and specialist offering. The company is enjoying worldwide success and has great plans for the future. It wants to encourage all of its people to contribute to those future plans, and has been considering incentive and bonus programmes linked to KPIs.
The conversation about future direction, KPIs and bonus/incentive schemes has got out of control. The company has spent huge amounts of time deciding on an ambitious business strategy and the KPIs that support it. Crucial objectives linked to bonus and incentive schemes have been identified, a business model has been created. But every discussion seems to add more complexity to the plans.
The company now has an unrealistic and unreasonable number of objectives to achieve every year for the next five years. It has lost sight of key targets and goals. And it’s in a position where it can’t communicate company aims, because there are simply too many to articulate clearly. So KPIs aren’t being met. People aren’t making their bonuses or achieving incentives, because they don’t know how. Morale is sinking, productivity is dropping. Goals are simply not being met.
This is a double-sided mission: to cut through the complexity and create realistic, achievable targets for the next few years, and to develop a communication strategy that will get everyone in the company on board.
Our job is to help the business emerge from the cloud of complexity. It has become so entangled in its own planning process that it’s become stuck in a loop – every session about how to take things forward results in another re-hash of what’s already been discussed.
We start by:
- Examining, defining and categorising business objectives. Some will inevitably overlap – these can be combined. The aim is to identify priorities, and group identified objectives within those priorities
- Simplifying the business model. It doesn’t have to consider all the minutiae that may or may not happen over the next five years. It does have to set clear, focused and smart targets that works for all aspects of the business
- Creating a communications strategy that will tell the workforce what the company is trying to achieve
- Developing the messaging — showing how working together to achieve the business strategy will benefit everyone
- Planning a communications timetable — what do people need to know and when do they need to know it?
- Building a communications model — determining who has responsibility for messaging and how it will be cascaded throughout the business
Cutting the complexity results in clear, focused, realistic and achievable business strategy. It allows communication of that strategy to everyone in the business. It shows people what’s expected of them, and what they can expect in return.
THE LAST WORD
It’s easy to get bogged down in the planning process, particularly when a business is growing. But getting too involved just gets in the way — we call it ‘hiding behind complexity’. Burying yourself in planning clouds the real targets you want to achieve.
When you have a clear strategy, and you’ve shared that strategy in a planned and structured way, you see results. Morale, engagement and productivity increase. People know what’s expected of them. They understand how their role connects to the rest of the business. They see how the overall strategy benefits them. So there’s real, measurable improvement across all KPIs, and real, measurable progress towards end goals.