Numbers don’t lie. Humans lie all the time, or at least we spin the truth (which, right there, is a lie). The often painful place that these universal facts meet in business is employee scorecards. After all, who wants a running tally of all the mistakes one’s ever made?
There has been a recent backlash against employee scorecards as highlighted in this HBR article that posits that “managing by the numbers is easier than managing people.” The article urges a balance between keeping score and letting employees work without being micromanaged. We agree. It’s hard to do good work when you’re constantly under a microscope, yet we are also in the position of seeing many clients who make great use of employee scorecards to improve their business.
Why Small Businesses Need Employee Scorecards Most
Small businesses don’t use employee scorecards often, which is unfortunate since they stand to gain the most from them. We get it. If you manage a small business, especially very small businesses (1-9 people), you are incredibly busy. You’re HR. You’re IT. You’re your own Administrative Assistant.
But precisely because you have a small number of employees is the reason you should monitor their efficiency, their work load, and their history. Due to the recession, many small businesses have been scrambling to stay afloat and many are just starting to see signs of life and growth again. But the article also highlights long hours (40% work 51+/week) and stresses. Your company is hitting revenue goals, but do you know if your employees are overwhelmed? How much would it impact you if you lost just one employee? Or do you need to hire more to help share the workload?
Furthermore, as probably the busiest person in your small business, do you have the time and energy to check in on each employee? How often? What reports do you need to manually pull together, or how many Excel spreadsheets do you need to pour over to see what each employee has been up to? When you meet for a one-on-one, do you know precisely their year-to-date activity history, or are you mostly guessing?
Not a Report Card, But a Health Check
Think of scorecards less as a report of what’s gone right or wrong, but rather as a report on the health of an employee’s productivity. View them as vitals charts, not a tally sheet. To this end, a great thing to do is to make each employee’s scorecard visible to him/her at all times. This way, there are no secrets and no surprises. Here is an example of an employee scorecard:[image size=”large” align=”center” lightbox=”true”]/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Employee-Scorecards.png[/image]
Here we see the quick hits of the employee’s numbers, short and long term, along with how he compares to the company average. If a scorecard like this were always automatically updated and available to both the employee and yourself, it would not only make it quick and easy to check his company vitals, but facilitate one-on-one conversations a great deal. No surprises. No miscommunications. And hopefully, no drama.
It won’t be long before your employees see them as a benefit to their productivity, instead of as an evil scorekeeper.
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