1/17/2012

KPIs are good and bad

Heard everyone screaming for KPIs like words from the mouth of gods. KPIs are the answer to work performance and an objective way to measure performance of an employee. HR professionals would tell you that it is just a tool. And a tool is as good as the person using it. It is not something so simple to set.

Does anyone know how much time and effort to write a good and reasonable KPI and how much time and effort to monitor it? It is a very tedious process. But some employers think it is so easy. Either they write it in 10 minutes and tell the employee to write his KPIs which he does not have any clue whatsoever. And the discussion is over in 30 minutes or less, to meet again in 12 months time. And the appraisal is to do the appraising thinking he knows what the employee did all this time. The other flaw is that the result may be achieved by means that have adverse and harmful consequences.

Another issue, who sets the KPIs? You the people who are being affected by the KPIs or the PM who decides the KPIs whether you like it or not, or benefits you or adversely affecting you? The assumption is that the KPIs are good for the intended people and country and the people agree to it. An excellent example is HDB. What should be the KPIs for the minister in charge? Build more and cheaper flats? Build less and charge higher and bring in more profits? Hold back the building to shrink the supply for higher profits? Or tell the buyers, you buy according to my schedule. I need to maximize profit and minimize waste.

Would an employee blindly pursue the KPIs at the expense of other issues for his bonuses instead of long term good of the organization, inn this case the people? Many organizations are caught by this short term KPI trap. There are many conflicting interests in govt than in a private organization. The latter is so much simpler. Governing is not a black and white issue and often more grey and compromises.

Should the people set the KPIs instead? Why should the PM be setting the KPIs? Is there a conflict between what is good for country and people and what is good for party? No, anyone say no? Think of the Whip.

Would there be KPIs for MPs? Who is going to set KPIs for opposition MPs and are they entitled to the same kind of reward and bonuses? It is public money you know.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who owns the government? The people or the Party or a FamiLee. Whoever pays the bills set the KPI, fair or not ?

market2garden said...

KPI is nothing wrong, most likely neutral.
If we knew the "histoy" (deeper understanding) of the KPI, the individual's KPI has to be in line with the deparment, and the department has to be in line with division, and then the entire organization immediate goals and vision. It is the people thought they understood the essence and then apply it but then apply it in the wrong way.
The process of getting right "KPI" is tedious, and people (perhaps U) are very "calculative" how much time has to spend on writing KPI.
Again I have to say superficially understanding (heresay) and write it with confidence (thought that you know) is extremely dangerous.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Impossible to conduct any long term enterprise without KPIs lah. NO. ABSOLUTELY -- the people should not set KPI's. Parliament should set KPIs

Anonymous said...

KPI is a mean to screw people:
1. To encourage in fighting
2. To purge the redundant
3. To suppress the outstanding
.... and the list goes on.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah is making sense. KPIs to be set by Parliament and debated in Parliament. The problem is when it comes to voting to approve a set of KPIs.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Off topic: redbean, new camera captures the entire "light field".

http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/87652-how-the-lytro-no-focus-light-field-camera-changes-photography

Website https://www.lytro.com/mobile/camera

Anonymous said...

Does anybody seriously think KPIs can deliver anything worthwhile?

If KPI is that good and simple, then PM Lee can set up a $50 million dollar company.
And set up the KPIs for the company to become the next Apple.

Or better still.
Give the CEO of Temasek the necessary KPIs to achieve a respectable rate of return.

Talking about Temasek.
Why not sack the entire management.
And just passively invest in Berkshire Hathaway shares?
As a shareholder, you get Warren Buffet as your investment manager for free.

Bottom-line
-----------
It's impossible to distill the essence of good practices into a set of KPIs.

KPIs are nothing more than a wish list.
You need good people to turn the wish list into reality.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matilah @12:11 , I was looking for this camera, just coudn't recall the name.